11th Circuit Court Will Not Hear Employment Discrimination Case; Legal Team Appeals to US Supreme Court

By Megan Clayton • July 6, 2017 • 3:31 pm

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit declined to grant a full court review in the case of Jameka Evans, a Georgia security guard who was fired for being lesbian. That means Lambda Legal, who are representing Jameka, will appeal the court’s previous decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jameka and her lawyers argue that she should be protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. In March, a three-judge panel dismissed these claims, a decision that Lambda appealed to the full court.

The court’s refusal today to rehear case—known formally as Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital—before the full Eleventh Circuit sets up a showdown at the Supreme Court, with split decisions from two different appellate courts.

In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an 8-3 ruling in the case of Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College that found Kimberly Hively, a math teacher who was fired from her job in Indiana because she was seen kissing her girlfriend, had been subjected to illegal sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was the first time any federal appellate court had reached such a conclusion.

The competing findings from two circuit courts—the 11th, which covers Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and the 7th, which covers Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin—regarding the application of federal law means the Supreme Court will weigh very seriously whether to take the case and resolve this disparity.

If they do agree to hear the case, the ruling will set a new precedent, potentially one that protects lesbian, gay and bisexual people from employment discrimination under federal law.

CLICK HERE to find out more about this landmark case with Lambda Legal.

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