A federal appeals court in Atlanta has
affirmed its decision that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
does not bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Gerald Lynn Bostock claimed in a
lawsuit filed in May 2016 that he was fired because he's gay.
Bostock worked as a court child welfare services coordinator in
Clayton County, which is near Atlanta.
According to the lawsuit, Bostock
received good performance evaluations. He was fired in 2013 after
roughly a decade on the job, “for Conduct Unbecoming of a Clayton
County Employee.” The firing came roughly six months after Bostock
joined a gay softball league.
Bostock appealed his case to the 11th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge dismissed the
case. In May, a three-judge panel upheld the lower court's decision,
and on Wednesday, the full court declined to reconsider that ruling.
Two of the 11 judges strongly
disagreed, the AP reported.
“I cannot explain why a majority of
our Court is content to rely on the precedential equivalent of an
Edsel with a missing engine, when it comes to an issue that affects
so many people,” Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum wrote.
Last year, the 11th Circuit
ruled similarly in a separate case involving a woman who claimed she
was forced out of her job because she's a lesbian. The Supreme Court
declined to hear the case.
The 7th (Chicago) and 2nd
(New York) U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have reached opposite
conclusions, ruling that Title VII's sex discrimination protections
extend to gay men and lesbians.
Bostock's lawyers appealed the case to
the Supreme Court in May.