Employment Discrimination Blog

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Major Corporations Petition SCOTUS to Ban LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination

Will the Supreme Court hold that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bans discrimination against employees based on their sexual identity?

Seventy-six businesses, including mega companies like Apple and Starbucks, along with several LGBTQ rights organizations and scholars are moving for the Supreme Court of the United States to make an official ruling as to whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees against discrimination in the workplace.  Lambda Legal has filed a petition with SCOTUS that it hopes the court will take up.  As more companies and individuals get behind the cause of plaintiff Jameka Evans, our Georgia employment rights lawyers offer an overview of the case and what it could mean for LGBTQ employees nationally.   

Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, Et. Al.

Jameka Evans worked as a security officer at Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah.  Evans, who describes herself as a gay female, dressed and wore her hair in stereotypically “male” ways.  For instance, she had a short haircut and wore a male uniform and men’s shoes.  While working for the hospital, Evans was harassed due to her homosexuality.  She received less desirable work schedules and was singled out for rule infractions.  She was also passed over for a promotion that a less qualified, but not gay, employee received.  

Despite attempts by Evans to report the harassment, no action was taken to end the discrimination and she eventually left her job when it became unbearable.  Evans filed suit, but her case was dismissed after the district court found harassment for her sexual orientation did not fall under Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex.  Her case was similarly dismissed on appeal, and she now seeks a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court.

Evans case has garnered much national attention because it focuses on an important issue that is causing division among the circuit courts.  With some many organizations and even businesses publically stating that they want to see the SCOTUS take up the matter, many feel it is likely the high court will take the case.  

As of now, circuit courts are split as to whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans sex discrimination, can be interpreted to include discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation.  LGBTQ employees who feel they have been discriminated against should consult with an employment discrimination attorney for assistance.  


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