US Supreme Court bumps off LGBT worker protections… for now
The US Supreme Court has decided to put off hearing on LGBT worker protections against job discrimination as of this time.
The high court declined to hear the suit of a Georgia woman who claimed that she was pushed out of a hospital security guard job because she was a lesbian.
According to reports, the tribunal will put off ruling for a year or more on whether LGBT have worker protections under the federal civil rights law.
The legal battle at the US Supreme Court
With the lower courts split on whether the ban on sex discrimination in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers discrimination based on sexual orientation, LGBT advocates are hoping the high court can rule on the matter with the case of Jameka K. Evans vs. Georgia Regional Hospital.
“The Supreme Court is delaying the inevitable and leaving a split in the circuits that will cause confusion across the country,” said Gregory Nevins, director of Lambda Legal’s Employment Fairness Project.
“But this was not a ‘no’ but a ‘not yet’,” Nevins said. Lambda Legal is currently representing Evans.
The high court’s decision to delay deciding on the case is not a decision by itself. However, this means it won’t rule on the case until 2019.
This is because if the court rules on the case by next year, the losing party can appeal, which would mean the court would still need to hear it, leading to a ruling by 2019.
US Supreme Court question reflects gov’t divide
Currently, the questions being debated in the courts also mirror the divide in the federal government , especially with the current Trump administration.
The case at the high court displays the battle between two agencies as they argue before the lower courts. At the moment, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is arguing for the extension of the 1964 law against sexual orientation discrimination, while the Justice Department is claiming it doesn’t.
“By declining to hear this case, the Supreme Court is delaying the inevitable and leaving a split in the [circuit courts] that will cause confusion across the country,” said Nevins.
“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,” he said.
The case at the US Supreme Court
Evans had first filed a case under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act against the Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah, a psychiatric facility, in 2015.
While the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta sided with the hospital against Evans, the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago has sided with LGBT workers in a similar case.
“It would require considerable calisthenics to remove the ‘sex’ from ‘sexual orientation’,” wrote Chief Judge Diane Wood for the majority.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York is deciding on the same question as well.