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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Schneiderman leads SCOTUS brief to protect LGBTQ workers

All WNY News     Thursday, October 12, 2017    

PRESS RELEASE



New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman led an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by 18 Attorneys General, arguing that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The Attorneys General argue that their States have strong interests in protecting their citizens against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The lack of nationwide recognition that Title VII bars such discrimination blocks the full protection of LGBTQ workers – particularly given divisions between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (which takes the position that Title VII protects workers from sexual orientation) and the federal Department of Justice (which has taken the opposite position).

The brief was filed late yesterday, on National Coming Out Day.

"It's unacceptable for an employee to be discriminated against based on sexual orientation – and it's high time that's clear across the country," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Who a person loves has nothing to do with their ability to do their job. We'll continue to make clear that discrimination has no place here or anywhere."

Click here to read the amicus brief, which was led by Attorney General Schneiderman and filed by the Attorneys General of NY, CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, MN, NM, OR, PA, RI, VA, VT, WA, and DC.

"Employment discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers not only deprives them of important economic opportunities—it also stigmatizes their most intimate relationships and thus 'diminish[es] their person­hood,'" the Attorneys General write.

Even in States like New York that have laws barring sexual-orientation discrimination in the workplace, "Title VII plays a crucial complementary role by covering individuals not subject to the State's laws—for instance, federal employees or residents who work in another State—and by making available both the federal courts and a federal enforcer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to police invidious discrimination based on sexual orientation."

The case, Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, involves Jameka Evans, a security guard at a Savannah hospital who was harassed at work and forced out of her job because she is a lesbian. Evans' petition seeks a nationwide ruling that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title VII.

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