The US Justice Dept Wrong About Title VII


How is everyone? Hopefully good!

I just wanted to briefly weigh in on this.

Just a quick overview: Last Wednesday the US Justice Department sent a brief on their opinion on a case that involved a gay man being fired. He claimed it was because he was gay, the company claims it was because a customer complained that he made her uncomfortable. I take no stance on this particular case, I have no idea what the details are or why they actually fired him.

What I do know is that the Justice Department sent that brief to the court, and that they are arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover a person being fired over their sexual orientation. That is just plain stupid, and wrong, and I can back up my argument with their own words. They wrote:

“The essential element of sex discrimination under Title VII [of the 1964 Civil Rights Act] is that employees of one sex must be treated worse than similar situated employees of the other sex, and sexual orientation discrimination simply does not have that effect,”

In that very statement, the acting Justice Department Civil Division chief Chad Readler and acting Civil Rights Division head Tom Wheeler themselves noted that it is discrimination for an employee of one sex to be treated worse than an employee of the other sex. That right there sums it up. Here’s the scenario I envision to prove my point:

Bob works in the IT department of a major company in an Atlanta suburb. Betsy is an attorney working in the same building. Bob and Betsy go out on dates, enjoy their time together, see each other on weekends and evenings, and generally have a normal relationship. For this scenario, let’s assume Betsy lives next door to Bob’s boss, Marco, so Marco sees Bob at Betsy’s house often, and they sometimes chat at the end of the driveway as Bob is heading in. Everything is all peaches and cream, and Marco is happy to see Bob dating a nice lady such as his neighbor Betsy.

Now let’s assume Bob leaves the company and moves to Omaha. He and Betsy decide that their relationship just wasn’t that deep, and they don’t want to continue a long-range relationship, but they end things well and are pleasant to each other about it.

Marco now has to hire a new IT worker to replace Bob, and as luck would have it, Janine is available. Janine’s ex-boss tells Marco that Janine was his star worker, that she’s a real catch for them and that the only reason Janine is looking for a job is because his company merged with a larger company and eliminated the entire division in that state. He says hire her at any cost, she’s an exemplary employee and would be wonderful to have. Marco is convinced, so he hires Janine immediately, and she starts the very next day.

Three months later Marco starts to see Janine coming around Betsy’s house on weekends a lot. He’s glad. Betsy is a great person to have as a friend, and he heard Janine talk about how all her friends had moved away in the past several years. He knows she goes home most nights to her cat and watches television alone, so he’s very happy she’s spending so much time at Betsy’s now.

But one night Marco see Betsy and Janine at the theater, and as they walk out they are holding hands. And then he sees Janine lean in and kiss Betsy. This gets his attention. He starts to wonder about Janine being at Betsy’s so much of the time. He watches, and in the few days that follows he sees them on the front porch of Betsy’s house, Janine giving Betsy a goodnight kiss before leaving.

Janine comes into work one day and finds all her things boxed up. Marco let’s her know that he’s going to have to let her go, that he doesn’t approve of same-sex relationships, and that he would like her to take her things and leave immediately.

–End of scenario–

So Bob dates Betsy and is fine, Janine dates Betsy and gets fired. This is blatantly an employee of one sex being treated differently than an employee of the opposite sex for the very same action. A male employee dated a woman and it was fine, a female employee dated a woman and was fired for it. The Just Department brief specifically says that it is discrimination for an employee of one sex to be treated worse than an employee of the other sex. In this case, that part is obvious. I mean firing someone for an action and not another person for the exact same action would seem worse to most people, anyway.

This happens all the time when an employer fires a worker for being gay. Every single time that they have that as their reason for firing it is because of this. And the Justice Department should know this. Courts are starting to agree, even though in the past they did not. In the past they had all kinds of silly rulings where they would rule women weren’t equal to men, minorities weren’t equal to whites, etc. We’ve moved past most of those idiotic ideas as a society, and we’re in the process of moving past it when it comes to LGBTQ people. It’s time the Justice Depertment catch up to that.

Of course this particular administration has made several moves recently that are anti-LGBTQ, so it shouldn’t surprise us. I hope that one day soon they will see the error of their ways and correct their course.