Federal ruling on anti-gay workplace discrimination won’t be appealed to Supreme Court

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

A decision by a federal appeals court that lesbian, gay and bisexual employees are protected under the Civil Rights Act will not be appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Yesterday the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act already protects LGB employees from being discriminated against.

The court on Tuesday went against a July ruling by three of its own judges that found that discrimination protections did not cover sexual orientation bias. Later, a rehearing by the full court was ordered in a rare move.

A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit against the Ivy Tech Community College in July.

The lawsuit was filed by Kimberly Hively of South Bend, a former Ivy Tech staff member, who says she was not hired by the college full-time because of her sexual orientation.

But the appeals court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.

At the time, the panel criticised a lack of federal workplace protections against such discrimination.

Now Ivy Community College has said it will not appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court.

Spokesman Jeffery Fanter said in a statement that the college disagrees with the ruling but does not condone discrimination.

“Sexual orientation discrimination is specifically barred by our policies,” he said.

“The College denies that it discriminated against the plaintiff on the basis of her sex or sexual orientation and will defend the plaintiff’s claims on the merits in the trial court,” Fanter added.

The 7th Circuit sets the law in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, so the ruling will apply there.

Hively wrote on Lambda Legals website: “I have been saying all this time that what happened to me wasn’t right and was illegal. Now I will have my day in court, thanks to this decision,” she said.

“No one should be fired for being lesbian, gay, or transgender like happened to me and it’s incredibly powerful to know that the law now protects me and other LGBT workers.”

Greg Nevins, Hively’s attorney, said: “We may have to win circuit by circuit, and we’re ready to do just that.”