Connect with us

New Federal Lawsuit Is Potentially Bigger Than Obergefell For Gay Rights

Published

on

Ex-FAA Worker Seeks Court Ruling Saying Anti-Gay Job Bias Prohibited Under Existing Civil Rights Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality was among the most significant legal victories in the history of the LGBT civil rights movement. 

But another lawsuit filed last week has the potential to eclipse Obergefell v. Hodges in terms of overall impact because it would affect more people, according to an attorney for the plaintiff. 

In the face of Congress’ longtime failure to pass explicit LGBT job protections, former Federal Aviation Administration employee David Baldwin’s lawsuit is aimed at obtaining a federal decision —  and eventually from the high court itself — saying anti-gay job bias is already illegal under existing civil rights laws. 

“Mr. Baldwin’s case has the ability to affect more people than the [Supreme] Court’s Obergefell [marriage] case because there are more gay men and women who have jobs than same sex couples who want to get married,” Baldwin’s lawyer, Lowell Kuvin, told BuzzFeed News.

In 2012, Baldwin filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging he was denied a promotion and suffered harassment based on his sexual orientation while working as a temporary frontline manager at Miami International Airport. This July, the EEOC ruled in Baldwin’s favor, saying anti-gay bias qualifies as sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC’s decision came two years after it ruled that transgender people are protected against job discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. And although both decisions were historic, they are binding only on federal agencies and don’t necessarily protect non-governmental employees. Since the EEOC’s decision in his case, Baldwin has sought to resolve the case with the FAA, but the agency never responded, prompting his lawsuit.

Baldwin’s lawsuit, which names transportation secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta as defendants, alleges he was passed over for a promotion to permanent front line manager in favor of less qualified people on three separate occasions. In addition, Baldwin’s supervisors repeatedly made disparaging remarks about his sexual orientation, the suit states. 

For example, when Baldwin mentioned that he and his partner had attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans, one of his supervisors, Mark Scott, responded that “we don’t need to hear about all that gay stuff.” Baldwin was also repeatedly told he was “a distraction in the radar room” when he discussed his partner. When Baldwin mentioned that his partner prepared him lunch each day, he was told the “comment was inappropriate” and to “get out of the radar room with that kind of talk.” 

“The fact that Plaintiff is male and gay was a motivating factor in the decision to not promote Plaintiff,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff was singled out due to his sexual orientation and treated differently than heterosexual co-workers.”

Baldwin’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, reinstatement of front pay, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees. But above all, Baldwin hopes his case will help lead to employment protections for gay workers throughout the U.S. Currently, only 22 states ban anti-gay job discrimination, and the Equality Act, which would establish comprehensive federal civil rights protections, remains stalled in Congress.  

“I am confident that this decision will be the deciding factor in saving countless jobs,” Baldwin told The Washington Blade following the EEOC’s decision in July. “That anyone would lose their job simply because of whom they are is a travesty. The LGBT community was never looking for ANY special consideration. We simply want the exact same protections as every other American citizen under already existing laws. Nothing more, nothing less.” 

Since the EEOC’s decision, LGBT advocates have strongly encouraged people who suffer anti-gay job discrimination to file complaints with the commission alleging sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. 

According to the Blade, Baldwin is a 57-year-old Navy veteran who met his partner, Keith George, seven years ago at a Metropolitan Community Church. They’ve since relocated to New Orleans, where they’re renovating a health club that had recently closed. 

Read Baldwin’s full complaint here. 

 

Image by David Baldwin, used with permission
Hat tip: BuzzFeed News

   

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT

‘Cool Story Bro’: Trump’s Latest Bolton Lie Sinks Like Lead Balloon as Americans Grow Tired of President’s Perjury

Published

on

President Donald Trump kicked off the week with a lie about John Bolton. Sunday night The New York Times revealed the manuscript of the President’s former National Security Advisor’s upcoming book includes the bombshell that Trump told Bolton in August he wanted to continue to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine until that country agreed to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden.

Monday morning Trump tweeted his latest lie, claiming the House “never” asked Bolton to testify, and claiming the Senate had no right or responsibility to get testimony from his former advisor. Both are lies. The House asked, but Trump ordered Bolton to not testify.

And Americans know Trump is lying.

Continue Reading

BOOM!

Unpublished Bolton Manuscript Exposes Trump’s Ukraine ‘Drug Deal’ Tying Military Aid to Dirt on Biden: New NYT Report

Published

on

The unpublished manuscript of John Bolton‘s forthcoming book exposes what the former Trump National Security Advisor allegedly had called a “drug deal,” when referring to the president’s extortion scheme of Ukraine, a New York Times report reveals. Trump, according to the draft, personally told Bolton of the illegal act, including tying congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine manufacturing “dirt” against former Vice President Joe Biden, who early emerged as Trump’s top political opponent.

“President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton,” the Times reported late Sunday.

Those facts wholly destroy the president’s defense which his legal team have been arguing before and now during his Senate impeachment trial. The revelation, just before the trial resumes Monday afternoon, might make it extraordinarily difficult for Trump’s defense team to continue that line of defense.

“Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates.”

Senate Democrats tried last week to subpoena Bolton to testify, but Republicans killed all such efforts.

The Times’ report also states Bolton submitted the manuscript to the White House, which means they are aware of the existence of the allegation – and continue to engage in obstruction of Congress, one of the two Articles of Impeachment.

Maggie Haberman, one of the author’s of Sunday night’s bombshell, posted this tweet:

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

Continue Reading

News

Kobe Bryant Dead in Helicopter Accident: TMZ

Published

on

Basketball great Kobe Bryant has died in a tragic helicopter accident, along with everyone on board, TMZ was first to report. The 41-year old NBA star played with the LA Lakers for two decades. He retired in 2016.

“Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down,” TMZ adds. “A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.”

The LA County Sheriff’s Office posted this tweet, but did not include Bryant’s name.

In 2013 after his own missteps Bryant stepped up to correct a fan for using the word “gay” as a slur. Nearly seven years ago, it was a big moment for awareness and for the LGBTQ community.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

Image via Wikimedia

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 AlterNet Media.