US Supreme Court Rejects Lambda Legal’s Appeal In Title VII Anti-LGBT Employment Discrimination Case
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will not review the Lambda Legal case on behalf of Jameka Evans, a Savannah security guard who was harassed at work and forced from her job because she is a lesbian.
“By declining to hear this case, the Supreme Court is delaying the inevitable and leaving a split in the circuits that will cause confusion across the country,” said Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Project Director for Lambda Legal. “But this was not a “no” but a “not yet,” and rest assured that Lambda Legal will continue the fight, circuit by circuit as necessary, to establish that the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual orientation discrimination. The vast majority of Americans believe that LGBT people should be treated equally in the workplace. The public is on the right side of history; it’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court has refused to join us today, but we will continue to invite them to do the right thing and end this hurtful balkanization of the right of LGBT people to be out at work.”
“This term will not see the Supreme Court provide a national remedy to stop the pervasive discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace. But don’t despair; if you have experienced discrimination in the workplace, please contact Lambda Legal’s Help Desk,” said Nevins. “We urge Congress to pass a federal law explicitly banning discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Several federal courts have affirmed the argument that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, when properly understood, protects LGBT employees. Most notably, the full Seventh Circuit overruled four of its precedents and ruled in April that Lambda Legal client Kimberly Hively could proceed under the Civil Rights Act with her claim that Indiana-based Ivy Tech Community College discriminated against her because she is a lesbian. In September, Lambda Legal argued before the full Second Circuit, which is reexamining two of its precedents in Zarda v. Altitude Express, the case of a New York skydiving instructor who was fired from his job because he was gay. No ruling has been issued yet in Zarda.