Appeals court: Civil Rights Act doesn’t apply to sexual orientation discrimination

In the midst of a tumultuous presidential campaign, some legitimate news gets left behind by national media and Milwaukee outlets. One such instance of (mostly) ignored news can be found in a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago.

The court held that Title VII anti-discrimination protections do not include discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation. The court said precedent required its ruling. 

The Seventh Circuit has jurisdiction over Wisconsin, as well as Illinois and Indiana.

The case on which it ruled, Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, involves a part-time professor (Hively) who alleged that Ivy Tech did not renew her employment contract because she is openly gay.

At trial, a court agreed with Ivy Tech’s position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not apply to sexual orientation discrimination.

According to The National Law Review, the appellate court cited several precedents that it said compelled its ruling. Without a federal law created by Congress, and without a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, sexual orientation is not protected, the court said.

You might have read that last month the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also said that Title VII does not include workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Wisconsin’s Fair Employment Law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters involving pay, hiring, leave, promotions, firing and other aspects of employment.

You can discuss your situation with a Milwaukee employment law attorney experienced in protecting employee rights and benefits.

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