Articles Posted in Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity Discrimination

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lgbt flagOne of the more frequently discussed issues within federal employment discrimination litigation is that of sexual orientation discrimination. Following two federal appeals court rulings from 2017 that reached opposite conclusions, some hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would step in and resolve the disagreement with finality. The high court recently decided, however, not to take a case that would have done so, leaving the question up to the various lower federal courts. Employees in New Jersey, however, have greater protections thanks to the Law Against Discrimination. If you suffered from discrimination at work because you are gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual, you should contact a New Jersey LGBT discrimination attorney to discuss your case and find out more about your rights.

The two federal cases were from Indiana and Georgia. Kimberly was a part-time college professor in South Bend, Indiana. The college rejected her six times for full-time positions and eventually terminated her part-time contract. Believing that the college made those decisions because she was openly lesbian, Kimberly sued the college for a violation of federal employment discrimination law (Title VII). The trial court threw out the professor’s case, but the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals revived it, ruling, for the first time, that sexual orientation discrimination  was a type of sex discrimination and therefore illegal under Title VII.

Jameka, a security officer at a hospital in Savannah, Ga., faced a different problem. Jameka, although a lesbian, “did not broadcast her sexuality.” What was apparent, however, was her appearance:  her hairstyle, her uniform, her shoes, her walk, and her speech all were more stereotypically male than female. Jameka sued for discrimination. In her case, both the trial court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against her, concluding that her case essentially boiled down to a sexual orientation discrimination case, and Title VII did not prohibit sexual orientation discrimination.

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Transgender PrideA headline-making new federal court ruling regarding discrimination and the rights of transgender people in the workplace may not immediately affect workers in New Jersey, but it could play a role in the not-too-distant future. The ruling, which allowed a trans woman to pursue a disability discrimination case under the Americans with Disabilities Act, is not binding in New Jersey federal cases right now, but it could become so if the Third Circuit of Appeals reaches the issue and adopts the lower court’s conclusion.

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catholic high schoolA recent case from Paramus, reported by northjersey.com, provides some helpful insight on how an employee may still be entitled to pursue her rights even in what might appear to be challenging conditions. A guidance counselor and basketball coach sued her former employer for sexual orientation discrimination. Even though the employer in this case was a Catholic school, the trial court and the Appellate Division both ruled that the religion exception did not automatically prevent this employee from pursuing her discrimination case.

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lgbt-pride-flagThe issue of discrimination against LGBT people is again making legal headlines as a federal appeals court in Atlanta recently ruled that Title VII does not include within it a protection for workers who suffer discrimination based upon their sexual orientation. A federal appeals court in Chicago reached a similar conclusion last year. Fortunately for LGBT people in New Jersey, this state’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) provides clear and unmistakable prohibitions against workplace discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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