On Friday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, generally considered one of the more conservative appellate courts, issued a mixed-bag ruling in a high-profile LGBT-rights case. Continue reading
I received a bunch of reader emails yesterday with requests for future blog posts.
One reader requested a follow-up to yesterday’s post about service animals and the ADA, asking that I address what happens when a service animal causes allergy issues for co-workers. Another reader sought input on heated political discussions at work as a gateway to a real hostile work environment. Both good ideas; I’ll get to them.
Today, however, I want to talk about Gavin Grimm and yesterday’s announcement from the U.S. Supreme Court to send his transgender rights case back to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice on February 22, 2017.
Late last month, I blogged here about some smoke signals from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it may be backpedaling on pursuing discrimination claims on behalf of a transgender employee, in a case where the employer had raised a religious-freedom defense.
Since then, other dominos have fallen, which indicate that the Trump administration is reversing course on transgender rights.
In a transgender-bias case with an employer-defendant concerned about having to violate its sincerely-held religious beliefs, the employee informed a federal appellate court last week that she is “reasonably concerned that the EEOC may no longer adequately represent her interests going forward.”
Wow! Wow! WOW!!!
In 2001, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals decided Bibby v. Philadelphia Coca Cola Bottling Co. In Bibby, the Third Circuit could not have been clearer about whether federal anti-discrimination law made LGBT bias at work unlawful.
“Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Congress has repeatedly rejected legislation that would have extended Title VII to cover sexual orientation.”
That’s binding precedent on all lower federal courts in Pennsylvania.
Except, on Friday, Judge Cathy Bissoon from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania concluded EEOC v. Scott Medical (opinion here) that Bibby is questionable, outdated jurisprudence.