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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Still more on: 7th Cir. to rehear Ivy Tech anti-gay employment discrimination case en banc

Updating this ILB post from Oct. 12th (last week), the 7th Circuit on Tuesday, Oct. 11th announced that it had granted an en banc rehearing of Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, and vacated the earlier panel decision.

Katelyn Haas of the Indiana Daily Student reports today in a story headed "Ivy Tech releases transgender inclusive policy while facing discrimination lawsuit," that:

Ivy Tech released a new policy this week to protect transgender and gender nonconforming students and faculty from discrimination, 
according to a press release.

The policy guidelines 
require all school records to reflect the student’s gender and name, allow students to use the facilities that match their gender identity, and grant transgender and gender nonconforming students the right to express their 
gender identity openly or keep it private, as well as to be addressed by the name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity.

It also protects them from administrators, faculty or staff from revealing an individual’s transgender status or gender non-conforming presentation to others unless the individual requests or consents to such disclosure.

Chris Paulsen, campaign manager of Freedom Indiana, said the new policy is fully inclusive.

“It’s the strongest policy in the state, actually,” Paulsen said. “It discusses both gender pronouns, name changes. It’s very strong. We’re pretty happy.”

The policy went into effect July 1 and was announced last week. Fanter said Ivy Tech values and embraces diversity. He said the college follows an equal opportunity policy that explicitly prohibits employment discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation.

Megan Holden of the Lafayette Journal & Courier also reported on this policy in a story this week:
Ivy Tech Community College has a new policy [copy here] in place to protect transgender and gender nonconforming students.

The statewide college system adopted a guideline that lays out the rights of students with the goal of creating a safe campus community for transgender and gender nonconforming students, Ivy Tech spokesman Jeff Fanter said. It was implemented in July but was only recently made public by advocacy group Freedom Indiana.

"The policy provides a beginning framework for transgender individuals and campus leaders and builds upon Ivy Tech's position of national leadership in higher education by signifying that our LGBTQ students and employees are of vital importance," Fanter wrote in an email interview. * * *

Ivy Tech is facing a lawsuit against a former part-time instructor from the South Bend who's accusing the school of failing to hire her full-time because she is a lesbian.

The suit was dismissed in July because federal law doesn't protect employees from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago last week agreed to review the case again. Judges won't examine whether Kim Hively has evidence of discrimination but rather whether she should be allowed to try to prove the claims, the IndyStar reported.

Ivy Tech denies the allegations.

"Ivy Tech Community College values and embraces diversity," Fanter wrote in an email. "It is an equal opportunity employer that does not condone, and in fact explicitly prohibits, employment discrimination based upon a person's sexual orientation."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 19, 2016 08:47 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions | Indiana Government