Administration to urge court to rule against LGBTQ workers’ rights

NEW YORK — The presidential administration will urge an appeals court in New York to rule that a federal law does not protect LGBTQ employees, media reports said.

From NBC Out:

The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a New York skydiving company, Altitude Express Inc, in a lawsuit brought by former instructor Donald Zarda, who accused the company of firing him after he told a customer he was gay and she complained.

The case will require the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether discrimination against gay workers is a form of unlawful sex bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law bans discrimination based on workers’ sex, race, religion and other traits.

The Trump administration’s involvement in the lawsuit is one of several moves it has made that has alarmed LGBTQ groups. Last month, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing the U.S. military not to accept transgender men and women as recruits.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department had not weighed in on the case. But the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces Title VII, has been arguing for five years that bias against gay workers violates the law. So far, only one federal appeals court has agreed.

The EEOC will appear at Tuesday’s hearing on behalf of Zarda’s estate. Zarda died in a BASE-jumping accident after filing his lawsuit.

LGBTQ rights groups say if the court rules for the estate, it would create a split in federal court decisions and increase the chance that the U.S. Supreme Court could tackle the issue.