Posts in Sexual Orientation.

What are you grateful for this year? Here is my list.

Asserting that the U.S. Department of Justice “must interpret Title VII as written by Congress,” the DOJ is reversing the Obama-era interpretation of Title VII, taking the position that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

In a memorandum issued this week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ formally withdrew a 2014 memorandum by then-Attorney General Eric Holder taking the contrary position.

Attorney General Sessions contends that transgender individuals are protected from discrimination based on sex, but not based on “gender identity per se.” He noted that Title VII refers only to discrimination based on “sex,” which is “ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female.” He also noted that Congress had specifically referred to gender identity in other contexts, indicating that it would have done so in Title VII had that been its intent. Finally, he said that Title VII did not prohibit treatment “that [took] account of the sex of employees but [did] not impose different burdens on similarly situated members of each sex,” specifically referencing sex-specific bathrooms.

The memorandum concludes as follows:

The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals. Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity, or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII to provide different or additional protections. Nor does this memorandum remove or reduce the protections against discrimination on the basis of sex that Congress has provided all individuals, including transgender individuals, under Title VII. . . . The Department of Justice has vigorously enforced [federal laws specifically protecting transgender individuals], and will continue to do so, on behalf of all Americans, including transgender Americans.

The DOJ position is not a surprise, given that it recently submitted a “friend of the court” brief making roughly the same arguments in a sexual orientation discrimination case.

With President Trump in office for nine months now, it is hard to believe that none of his people are yet on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The four currentCommissioners, including the Acting Chair, Republican Victoria Lipnic, and former Chair Jenny Yang, were all appointed by President Obama.

But that may change soon. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held hearings this week on the nominations of Janet Dhillon for EEOC Chair and Daniel Gade for EEOC Commissioner.

(The Senate confirmation vote for William Emanuel, whose nomination as a Member of the National Labor Relations Board has been pending for quite some time, is expected to take place imminently.)

Here’s what we have learned about Ms. Dhillon and Dr. Gade from this week’s HELP Committee testimony, according to an article in Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Labor Report:

Last week, I had a short post about the position taken by the U.S. Department of Justice in the Zarda v. Altitude Express "gay skydiver" case.

The DOJ has directly opposed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which had also filed a brief in the case. The EEOC says that sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited by Title VII. The DOJ says it isn't.

(As I noted last week, the ...

Whoa.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are at cross purposes in the "gay skydiver" case.

Are they ever.

Do you remember Zarda v. Altitude Express? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently signaled that it might overrule its precedent holding that Title VII's ban on sex discrimination does not include sexual orientation ...

Last week, the Missouri Court of Appeals issued an opinion holding that gender identity is not covered by the prohibition on sex discrimination in the Missouri Human Rights Act. The opinion builds on a 2015 opinion from the same court, which held that sexual orientation was not covered under the MHRA.

Last week's opinion arose from a lawsuit filed by a female-to-male high school ...

Law360 reported this morning that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit refused to rehear the case of Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, in which two out of three judges on a panel of the court decided that Title VII did not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Here is a copy of the Court's order denying the rehearing.

According to the Law360 article, Lambda ...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Connecticut, New York, and Vermont) agreed yesterday to rehear en banc an appeal from the estate of a gay skydiving instructor who alleged heStove fire.flickrCC.StateFarmIns was fired after a customer complained about his sexual orientation. The case is Zarda v. Altitude Express.

The issue to be decided by the court is "Does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ...

Hot Dog Man.flickrCC.JeleneMorrisAttention, H-1B employers! The Trump Administration announced this week that it would take a closer look at employers who use workers with H-1B visas. Elizabeth Joiner has the details in this Immigration Dispatch.

Sexual orientation discrimination does violate Title VII, appeals court says. This week's decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a first, and ...

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled yesterday that sexual orientation discrimination is indeed prohibited "sex discrimination" within the meaning of Title VII.Stove fire.flickrCC.StateFarmIns

The decision was issued in the case of Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit had found last year that Title VII did not prohibit sexual orientation ...

Robin Shea has more than 20 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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