Friday, July 29, 2016
Ind. Decisions - More on: 7th Circuit decides Indiana case re Title VII and sexual orientation discrimination
On Thursday, a panel of judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago upheld a lower court's dismissal of the suit filed by Kimberly Hively, a former part-time Ivy Tech instructor who said the college did not hire her for full-time employment because she is a lesbian.
The ruling highlights a gap in federal civil rights protections in the workplace: Employees are protected from discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color and national origin, but not sexual orientation. In Indiana, a bill that sought to add sexual orientation to the state's civil rights protections failed earlier this year.
While still dismissing the case, the judges criticized the fact that sexual orientation is not included in workplace protections guaranteed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The judges said that change must come from a ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States, or new legislation from Congress.
"It seems unlikely that our society can continue to condone a legal structure in which employees can be fired, harassed, demeaned, singled out for undesirable tasks, paid lower wages, demoted, passed over for promotions, and otherwise discriminated against solely based on who they date, love or marry," the opinion reads. * * *
The court's opinion noted an ironic tension with the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage. That decision did not address workplace discrimination.
"The cases as they stand do, however, create a paradoxical legal landscape in which a person can be married on Saturday and then fired on Monday for just that act," the opinion reads.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 29, 2016 01:58 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions