A federal court in Chicago just ruled that LGBT employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace — that the 1964 civil rights law that prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin — also applied to sexual orientation.
Previous court decisions did not support LGBT people, saying the 1964 law did not apply to LGBT because it was not mentioned in it. But now this court decision says if there is discrimination against a person’s sexual orientation, it is considered a form of sex discrimination.
This court case came as a result of a woman who say she lost her teaching job at a community college because she is a lesbian. She sued the college, sparking a federal court battle on if the lawsuit could proceed based on the idea that LGBT people are included in the civil rights law.
Now the lawsuit can proceed with this new interpretation/ruling. This court decision does not give LGBT people all over the U.S. this kind of protection — as only the Supreme Court can do that — but it will protect people who live in the 7th Circuit area — while allowing other LGBT lawsuits to proceed based on this new interpretation. It’s a big change.