USA high court turns away dispute over gay worker protections

USA high court turns away dispute over gay worker protections

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. agency charged with enforcing federal employment non-discrimination law, determined in 2015 sexual-orientation discrimination amounts to unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced it won't hear a case seeking protecting for lesbian, gay and bisexual workers under existing civil rights law barring sex discrimination.

But the justices on Monday turned away the Georgia case, perhaps waiting for a similar challenge now pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in NY. Evans and her lawyers responded that the hospital's lack of participation should not thwart Supreme Court review, but the justices may have opted to wait for the issue to come to them again in a case with fewer complications. At the time, Judge William Pryor - one of President Trump's candidates for a Supreme Court nomination - said the fight belonged in Congress, which "has not made sexual orientation a protected class".

The question arose in the case of Jameka Evans, who left her job as a security officer at a Georgia hospital, claiming that she had been harassed and passed over for a promotion because she is gay.

USA high court turns away dispute over gay worker protections
USA high court turns away dispute over gay worker protections

That ruling on behalf of Kimberly Hively, an instructor at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend, Ind., made the 7th Circuit the highest federal court to protect LGBT people under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

That other case potentially could be Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., which is pending before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The EEOC and courts also have been considering the related question, not raised in Evans' case, of whether gender identity discrimination - against transgender people - is banned under Title VII's sex discrimination ban.

Advocates behind Evans' petition, however, had been hoping to get the issue before the Supreme Court during the term underway currently - a prospect that now is out of reach and could become key should the court be closely divided on the issue and Justice Anthony Kennedy or one of the more liberal justices leave the court before the matter is heard.

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