Under the direction of new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice has filed papers in court arguing federal civil rights law doesn’t provide civil rights protections against discrimination for employees on the basis of sexual orientation. This is in stark contrast to the directives of President Barack Obama’s administration.
The move was an unusual one, wherein the department asserted its authority in a federal case pending in New York. It involves a basically private dispute between a worker in New York and his employer over the issue of gay rights and LGBTQ discrimination.
In a friend-of-the-court brief, the Justice Department wrote that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of religion, gender, national origin, race and color, does not, as a matter of law, protect those based on sexual orientation. The DOJ wrote that this is an issue that has “been settled for decades,” and that any effort to amend or alter the scope of Title VII needs to be directed to members of Congress, rather than the courts. Continue reading