Federal Court Rules Employers Can’t Fire People for Being Gay

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sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace
Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is now illegal.

More great news for the gay community has arrived regarding sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. The full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reached a 8-3 decision. Workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law.

The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964., prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. The court ruled that under that law, sexual preference is now inclusive.

The Story of How this Ruling Came to Be

The plaintiff, Kimberly Hively, was an instructor at Ivy Tech Community College. She kissed her girlfriend in the parking lot at work. Unfortunately, someone saw the encounter and she was fired from her position as a math professor.

She filed a lawsuit and consequently went to trail court in 2015. The court dismissed her case. Not satisfied, she appealed the case to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Three judges ruled against her in July 2016.

Hively requested a rehearing of the case by the full panel of the Seventh Circuit of all eleven judges. Her request was granted on October 11, 2016 and she appeared once again in November of that year. She asked that the court overturn its prior decisions limiting the reach of Title VII and they ruled in her favor to extend the law to encompass sexual orientation.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace is No More

Kimberly Hively 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.”

For more information about this, you can read the write-up done by the law firm who represented Hivey. Here is the PDF version as well.

We are sending a big thanks to Kimberly Hively who’s persistence and bravery has just made things a little better for all of us. Thanks Kimberly! Now go on working in peace and being free to love who you love.