The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has been asked to decide if Title VII expressly protects gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees.
The case—Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management—involves an individual who lost his conditional job offer after, he claims, the owners of the company discovered his sexual orientation.
The 8th Circuit will be the 5th federal circuit to rule on this issue.
So far, the 7th, 6th, and 2nd Circuits have held that Title VII covers LGBT discrimination, while the 11th has held that it does not.
Understanding the importance of yet another federal circuit ruling on this issue (perhaps in advance of Supreme Court review), groups have lined up on both sides attempting to persuade the 8th Circuit.
For the most part, these amici curiae (friends of the court) briefs line up as you'd expect.
The EEOC and "liberal" states side with the employee's right to free from sexual-orientation discrimination under Title VII, while "conservative" states side with the right of the employer to fire LGBT employees.
And then it gets interesting.
A coalition of 47 companies and organizations "support the notion that no one should be passed over for a job, paid less, fired, or subject to harassment or any other form of discrimination based on nothing more than their sexual orientation, which is inherently sex-based."
Bravo, corporate America. Even if Congress or the Supreme Court ultimately decides this issue in favor of protecting LGBT employees from discrimination, LGBT discrimination will only cease being a problem when you decide that it should no longer be a problem.
So, employers, I ask you, when is that going to happen?
* Photo by Wokandapix on Pixabay