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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ind. Courts - More on "7th Circuit can make civil rights history for gay and lesbian employees" [Updated]

Updating this ILB post from Nov. 29th, the en banc 7th Circuit oral argument in Hively v. Ivy Tech. is this morning. My best guess is it will begin at 10:30 EST, 9:30 Chicago time. The Court's daily calendar has not yet been updated for today, it states:

The calendar is posted on the court’s web page each morning by 9:00 a.m. [CST]
You will be able to listen to an audio of the oral argument here. It is numbered 15-1720. Expect some confusion because there may be as many as 11 different judges speaking [WOOD, BAUER, POSNER, FLAUM, EASTERBROOK, RIPPLE, KANNE, ROVNER, WILLIAMS, SYKES, HAMILTON], with no identification. (I'm not certain if you can listen in real time, or if the audio is posted later, if I remember correctly, it is the latter...)

Madeline Buckley of the Indianapolis Star has a long story today on the case, headed "LGBT worker's civil rights case could reach beyond state." A sample from the long story:

The full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will hear arguments in the case Wednesday in what could be a precedent-setting decision. Ivy Tech has consistently denied that Hively was not promoted because of her sexual orientation.

"Ivy Tech Community College values and embraces diversity," School spokesman Jeff Fanter said in a statement. "It is an equal opportunity employer that does not condone, and in fact explicitly prohibits, employment discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation."

If the court was to rule in favor of Hively — which would allow her to go forward with her lawsuit — the decision would implement workplace protections for gay and lesbian residents within the court's jurisdiction of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. That would essentially render moot an ongoing battle in the Indiana General Assembly over legislation that would add a statewide anti-discrimination clause for LGBT Hoosiers.

But if the court rules against Hively, she could appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court, setting her case up to potentially have national impact.

The case is cheered by advocates who say it would offer essential protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers and close a gap left from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, that legalized same-sex marriage, but fell short of implementing workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

[Updated at 10:28] The great resource, Equality Case Files, has all the briefs here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 30, 2016 09:01 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions