LGBT workers score against Trump administration
There’s hope for LGBT workers in the US, who were recently bullied by President Donald Trump when he took away an executive order that protects those working in federal government from discrimination.
A week later, the US court ruled that LGBT workers all over the US are protected from bias under the 1964 Civil Rights law.
This goes to show that even with Trump in the highest position in the land, there’s still no stopping LGBT workers.
Obama’s orders to protect the LGBT workers
In 2014, then-President Barack Obama created two Executive Orders that prohibits discrimination on LGBT workers that were contracted to work in the federal government.
The first order specifically states no discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity. This came as Obama saw that Congress was doing nothing for LGBT workers to protect them from employment bias.
Since this was a simply an executive order, it only encompasses federal government workers.
The second order was that these contractors that supply workers should show evidence that they are complying with the first order. This was Obama’s way of knowing the order was being implemented.
Trump bullies LGBT workers
In January, talks were rife that Trump would cancel the LGBT protections– but he gave assurances to LGBT activists that he had no plans of doing that.
By end of March of this year, it was only half true as Trump kept the first order but repealed the second order.
What does this mean? “It’s sending a message to these companies that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether or not they violate the law,” explained Camilla Taylor, senior counsel at Lambda Legal.
Obama created two orders for a reason, knowing how contractors can circumnavigate the order. Trump saw this as his subtle way of stripping LGBT workers of safety.
US court champions LGBT workers
A week later, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that under the 1964 Civil Rights law, protection against discrimination in the workplace includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.
This came on the heels of the 2014 Lambda Legal case of Kimberly Hively, who was fired by Ivy Tech Community College for being a lesbian: she was seen by the school kissing her girlfriend in the parking lot.
Hively charged that the school violated Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination because of their sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.
The case was dismissed at the trial court, who stated that the law does not include LGBT employees. Lambda Legal appealed to the Seven Circuit Court of Appeals and was again denied.
In 2016, Lambda Legal requested for the full panel of the Seventh Court to hear Hively’s case and it was granted.
On April 4, barely a week after Trump’s newest LGBT protection repeal, the Seventh Court, one of the highest federal courts, ruled 8-3 that Title VII includes discrimination against sexual orientation.
For Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Program Director for Lambda Legal, this shows that the federal court is in touch with people’s opinion.
“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,” Nevins said.
So while the implementation of Obama’s first executive order was put in peril by Trump, the US Courts protects LGBT workers in the whole United States.