Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Breaking: In Historic Ruling, EEOC Finds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Already Illegal - The New Civil Rights Movement

For the basics:
After decades of fighting for protections against discrimination in the workplace, gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees are actually covered under federal law already, the EEOC has ruled this afternoon. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds GLB workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC finds today that "allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex," as Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner first reported.

Today's ruling is historic, and sets an important precedent that no doubt will lead to a Supreme Court case in the future. 

Technically, the ruling covers federal workers directly, but, as Geidner notes, "it also applies to the entire EEOC, which includes its offices across the nation that take and investigate claims of discrimination in private employment. And, while only the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the interpretation, EEOC decisions are given significant deference by federal courts."

In short, the commission today has ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is discrimination based on sex, and thus covered under federal law.
From Ari Ezra Waldman over at TowlerRoad, who expands a bit more,
This is a groundbreaking development because federal judges listen closely to EEOC decisions. The EEOC is the agency in charge of interpreting and implementing Title VII; the Commission is the expert in the law of employment discrimination. And basic principles of administrative law state that the judiciary should give significant deference to agency conclusions because, unlike generalist judges, EEOC commissioners are the experts in this field of law. So, although we would feel better if this ruling were handed down by a federal court, the EEOC has taken an enormous jump in that direction.

The EEOC case involved a federal employee, so the Commission’s decision gives federal employees an avenue for justice. But for those who work for most private companies, things are not so certain. True, the decision does not directly apply to them and their employers. However, the basis for private companies’ decisions to discriminate against gays is that Title VII allows it. It will be hard to make that argument now: at least according to the EEOC, Title VII does not permit anti-gay discrimination.

Still, more work needs to be done. We need to take this decision to the Supreme Court to ensure it applies to all workers. We also need a comprehensive anti-gay discrimination law passed at the federal level because this decision (and Title VII) only applies to employment discrimination. Gays are discriminated against in the provision of housing, education, and a host of other social services. But remember this EEOC decision. It will pop up again, and again, as we march further toward full equality.
Why is this important,
When one looks at the decision rendered by SCOTUS [in regards to Hobby Lobby ruling] it has to be through the lens of the Reich's overall agenda -  starting with a "reformed" interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause or an outright repeal of the First Amendment,  continuing with the abolition of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ending with the implementation of dominionist ideology in order to govern by theocratic control.  With the ruling in Hobby Lobby, the Reich will "now" be able to exempt themselves from any laws that they don’t like; that they find “religiously objectionable.” 
It just may throw a kink into their plan as exemplified by Newland v. Sebilius.

Breaking: In Historic Ruling, EEOC Finds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Already Illegal - The New Civil Rights Movement

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