On January 6, 2021, NELA and The Institute signed on to an amicus brief drafted by Lambda Legal in the 7th Circuit case Demkovich v. St. Andrew The Apostle Parish. Plaintiff Sandor Demkovich was subjected to workplace harassment and a hostile work environment as an LGBTQ employee. His employer argued that as Demkovich was a “minister”, all hostile work environment claims were barred under the ministerial exception. The amicus brief submitted by Lambda Legal urges the en banc 7th Circuit not to bar all hostile work environment claims for religious employers, and highlights the potential harms of an expansion of the ministerial exception on LGBTQ employees and others who often experience discrimination in the workplace. We are grateful to Lambda Legal for taking the lead on this brief.… Read More
In Landmark Ruling, U.S. Supreme Court Finds LGBTQ Workers Are Protected Under Title VII
“An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”
The Supreme Court ruled today that an employer who discriminates against an individual on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark decision for LGBTQ workers.
The majority opinion in the 6-3 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, GA (consolidated with Zarda v. Altitude Express Inc. and Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC), was authored by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
The opinion was largely based on the text of Title VII. As the majority notes:
“In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. … Read More
On July 3, 2019 the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law & Policy (The NELA Institute) joined the Impact Fund in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court (S.C. 17-1618, 17-1623, 18-107) in support of LGBTQ workers. Impact Fund, NELA, and The NELA Institute filed this brief in support of the Petitioners in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, and Respondent in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. E.E.O.C., addressing not only the pervasive workplace discrimination LGBTQ workers face, but more importantly the lack of clarity that exists in applying workplace protection laws to those who are discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The amicus brief, written by Impact Fund’s Lindsay Nako and David Nahmias, working in close collaboration with NELA members, focuses on the circuit split in the treatment of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This is further confused by the existing consensus among the circuits regarding discrimination based on transgender status. As the brief notes, “The three decisions under review underscore the unpredictability in the law for LGBT people. Faced with similar … Read More
On October 25, 2016 NELA joined a coalition of groups led by Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) and the Impact Fund in signing onto an amicus brief in Carcaño v. McCrory, currently pending in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This case involves a challenge to a portion of North Carolina’s notorious “HB-2” law that would prevent transgender persons from using public restrooms in line with their gender identity, if that identity does not match the gender on their birth certificate. The plaintiffs in this case sought a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the provision as applied to all transgender persons who reside in or visit North Carolina. The district court, however, chose only to enjoin enforcement of the law against the plaintiffs.
The amicus brief was drafted by NELA member Lindsay Nako and Lynnette Miner (Impact Fund, Berkeley, CA), and the amicus sign-on outreach was coordinated by NELA member Julie Wilensky (Disability Rights California, Oakland, CA), on behalf of BALIF.… Read More