An LGBT law group has asked the Supreme
Court to review a case involving a security guard who claims she was
fired because she's a lesbian.
In March, a three-judge panel of the
11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled against the
plaintiff, finding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
does not protect workers from discrimination based on sexual
orientation. Four months later, the court refused to rehear the case
before the full court. Other courts have reached the opposite
Lambda Legal turned to the Supreme
Court. In its 30-page
brief filed this week, the group calls on the high court to take
up the case.
“This Court should carry out that
task without delay,” the lawyers wrote in their petition. “Ours
is a national economy, and basic protections in the workforce should
not depend on geography. More fundamentally, lesbian, gay, and
bisexual Americans will not enjoy true legal equality until their
sexual orientation is irrelevant not only to their right to enter
into consenting relationships and to marry but also to their ability
to maintain jobs and pursue their livelihoods.”
The plaintiff in the case is Jameka
Evans, a former security guard at Georgia Regional Hospital in
Savannah. In her lawsuit, filed in 2015, Evans claims that she was
targeted for harassment and effectively drummed out of her job
because she's gay.
Lambda Legal argues in its petition
that the Supreme Court should take the case to clarify split rulings
among federal circuit courts and because the 11th Circuit
got it wrong.
“Petitioner’s claim rests on the
fact that if she were a man, or if she dressed and behaved in a more
stereotypically feminine way, or if she were attracted to men rather
than to women, respondents would have treated her differently,” the
brief states. “This is sex discrimination, pure and simple. Title
VII nowhere carves out lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from its
categorical protection against sex discrimination.”
Four justices must vote to hear the
case for it to be heard by the Supreme Court.