The title can be: Important Rulings For LGBTQ Workers


Important rulings have passed through the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the last few months regarding protections for LGBTQ people in the workplace.


In the simplest of terms, this means a few important things. The second circuit includes Vermont, Connecticut, and New York. This court ruled that sexual-orientation discrimination is prohibited under federal law. Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee make up the sixth court that ruled discrimination against transgender workers is prohibited.


Unfortunately, these rulings do not apply across the country until a decision is made by the Supreme Court. Currently similar rulings have been made in some other states, but the majority remains with no specific protections in place.


In the case of Zarda vs. Altitude Express, Donald Zarda was fired after disclosing that he was gay to a customer during an assisted skydive. He was later fired and his employer argued that he was let go for not providing an enjoyable experience to the customer, but Zarda filed a complaint that he was fired for his sexuality.


In a unique situation the Equal Employment Opportunity Comission (EEOC) sided with Zarda, while the Justice Department sided with his employer.


With the recent win for Zarda in the second circuit court, a new president has been set for future cases. Employment attorney Greg Owens explains that, “We agree with the EEOC’s interpretation that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition against sex discrimination forbids discrimination based on gender identity of sexual orientation. Furthermore, we believe that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals got it right in Hively where the Court found that a claim for sexual orientation discrimination is cognizable under Title VII.”


Owens continues to explain how a ruling not in favor of including sexual orientation as discrimination does not mean cases will not succeed. “If the Supreme Court of the United States were to rule the sexual orientation claims are not covered by Title VII, employees can continue to bring sex discrimination claims based on sex stereotyping/gender non-conformity.”


All workers in America have the right to a discrimination and harassment free workplace. Unfortunately, major states Texas and Florida currently have no statewide protections in place for LGBTQ employees, along with about a dozen other states. Hopefully the decisions of the past few months will help these states to follow suit when it comes to equal treatment for all workers.