US Seventh Circuit Court Of Appeals Full Panel Rules You Can’t Be Fired For Being Gay

“I have been saying all this time that what happened to me wasn’t right and was illegal. Now I will have my day in court, thanks to this decision, No one should be fired for being lesbian, gay, or transgender like happened to me and it’s incredibly powerful to know that the law now protects me and other LGBT workers.”-Kimberly Hively

That’s something I always believed and many Americans believed was already the case for TBLGQ Americans, but now we have a federal court decision to back that up in the Hively vs Ivy Tech Community College case.

On Tuesday a full panel of the US Seventh Circuit in Chicago by an 8-3 margin found that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“… Hively represents the ultimate case of failure to conform to the female stereotype (at least as understood in a place such as modern America, which views heterosexuality as the norm and other forms of sexuality as exceptional): she is not heterosexual. Our panel described the line between a gender nonconformity claim and one based on sexual orientation as gossamer-thin; we conclude that it does not exist at all. Hively’s claim is no different from the claims brought by women who were rejected for jobs in traditionally male workplaces, such as fire departments, construction, and policing. The employers in those cases were policing the boundaries of what jobs or behaviors they found acceptable for a woman (or in some cases, for a man).”
-Chief Judge Diane Wood

This came just three weeks after a three judge panel in Atlanta ruled the other way that Title VII doesn’t cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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The plaintiff in this case, Kimberly Hively, was an instructor at Ivy Tech Community College  who in August 2014 sued the school with the help of Lambda Legal after she was seen kissing her girlfriend in the parking lot of the school and subsequently denied promotions and full employment.

Hively’s suit argued that Ivy Tech violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  The trial court dismissed her suit and claimed that Title VII of the CRA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion, doesn’t protect employees from anti-gay discrimination.

In April 2015 Lambda Legal appealed the case to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a reversal of the trial court decision and reinstatement of Hively’s complaint.  The three judge panel ruled against Hively in July 2016, but Lambda Legal requested it be heard by a full Seventh Circuit eleven judge panel.   The request was granted on October 11. 2016 and heard in November 2016.

What also makes this ruling notable is that the Seventh Circuit not only leans conservatives, five of the eight majority judges in this 8-3 decision were appointed by Republican presidents.

Once again, that ‘strict constitutionalism’ cuts both ways. so spare me any calls of ‘judicial activism’.. You conservafools don’t complain when those same federal judges make rulings in your direction.  .

“In many cities and states across the country, lesbian and gay workers are being fired because of who they love. But, with this decision, federal law is catching up to public opinion: ninety-percent of Americans already believe that LGBT employees should be valued for how well they do their jobs—not who they love or who they are. Now, through this case and others, that principle is backed up by the courts,” said Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Program Director for Lambda Legal. who argued the case in front of the full Seventh Circuit judicial panel.  

“This decision is gamechanger for lesbian and gay employees facing discrimination in the workplace and sends a clear message to employers: it is against the law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.”

And it remains to be seen whether this decision gets litigated at the Supreme Court.      

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