According to Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed.com (here), 128 members of Congress filed a brief in Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc., urging the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to conclude the discrimination based on sexual orientation is sex discrimination and, therefore, violates Title VII.
So, yes, you should pay attention.
I teased this last March, when I blogged here about how a New York federal court agonized that it was bound by Second Circuit precedent that Title VII does not protect employees from discrimination because of sexual orientation. Although forced into this outcome, the lower court anticipated an appeal and implored the appellate court to reconsider its position on sexual-orientation discrimination under federal law.
Now on appeal, in addition to the 128 members of Congress who heard the call from the lower court, they are joined by the EEOC, which filed this amicus brief for LGBT workplace rights. Last week, the EEOC settled an LGBT bias case for about $200K.
Mr. Geidner also reports that other LGBT advocates have filed briefs top support Christiansen:
If the Second Circuit charts a new course and concludes that sexual-orientation discrimination violates Title VII, it would set up a Circuit split (e.g., Third Circuit precedent permits LGBT discrimination), and pave the way for possible Supreme Court review. Or, following the November elections, Congress may revisit the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
In the meantime, federal wonks should watch this case carefully. Plus, don’t forget about state and local laws governing LGBT discrimination. And everywhere else, if you want to ban LGBT discrimination at work — ain’t nothin’ stopping you from that too.