Over 100 Members of Congress Urge Court to Bar Employment Discrimination Against LGBT People

June 29, 2016 4:30 pm

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NEW YORK — More than 100 members of Congress Tuesday night urged a federal appeals court to hold that employers cannot discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.

Over 100 members of the House of Representatives filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arguing that discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits sex discrimination in employment.

James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project, had the following reaction:

“This is a powerful and persuasive brief from leading members of Congress, all of whom are important partners in the fight for LGBT equality. We are grateful to have them join us in urging the Second Circuit to recognize the reality that discrimination against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people is unlawful sex discrimination.

“The ACLU will continue to stand with these representatives and senators in working to get explicit LGBT nondiscrimination protections enacted into law. As that work continues, we must ensure that courts are correctly interpreting federal civil rights laws in a way that robustly protects the rights of LGBT people across the U.S.”

The case, Christiansen v. Omnicom Group Inc., was brought by Matthew Christiansen. As soon as he was hired at the marketing communications firm DDB, the lawsuit says, his supervisor immediately commenced a harassment campaign against him by repeatedly accusing him of having AIDS just because he was gay. His supervisor also drew graphic pictures mocking Christiansen and the gay community, sharing them at the office and on social media, the lawsuit says.

Congressional brief is here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/christiansen-v-omnicom-group-inc-congressional-brief

More information can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/blog/washington-markup/key-members-congress-are-pushing-federal-appeals-court-make-clear-anti-gay

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