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for the Western District of Pennsylvania concluded EEOC v. Scott Medical (opinion here) that Bibby is questionable, outdated jurisprudence.
As a corollary to yesterday’s post about David Lopez stepping down as EEOC General Counsel —
*** Googles “corollary” — swish! ***
— I bring you news of two recent court decisions advancing LGBT rights at work.
I teased it in Friday’s post.
Last week, a Michigan federal court held (here) that a workplace dress code that requires one gender to conform to a sex stereotype (e.g., men must wear suits, and women must wear dresses) is “direct evidence” of sex discrimination. But, the employer in the Michigan case refused to waver from the letter of the dress code, and avoided a sex discrimination claim under Title VII.
Why? Because Hobby Lobby.
Just for today, head on over to LinkedIn, and check out my post about how strict application of your dress code could result in a nasty sex discrimination claim.
(And a little teaser for Monday — I’ll explain why the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision may trump Title VII and allow some employers to discriminate).