Lambda Legal scored many amazing victories this year in the fight for the rights of LGBT people and people with HIV. But we’re not done yet. This series showcases some of our proudest accomplishments in 2014, and explores some of the work that we still need to do to achieve full equality for the LGBT and HIV communities.
Here are highlights of Lambda Legal’s workplace rights work in 2014 and goals for 2015.
Employment Discrimination – Executive Orders and ENDA: While we joined many other major LGBT organizations in dropping our support for current Senate drafts of employment non-discrimination legislation due to exemptions allowing religious organizations to discriminate, we applauded President Obama for signing an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT workers by federal contractors and against federal government employees who are transgender. In amicus briefs filed in Washington DC and Washington State, we successfully argued that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates the sex-discrimination provision of Title VII; we also convinced the federal appellate court in Chicago to remove from a decision language suggesting Title VII doesn’t cover sexual orientation discrimination
Know Your Rights at Work: Everyone deserves to know their rights at work. That’s why we launched our new hub (in both English and Spanish) designed to give key information for LGBT employees and employees living with HIV.
A Teacher in California: Julia Frost, an openly lesbian teacher, was subjected to discrimination and harassment from the moment she started working at Sultana High School in California. After helping a student in the Gay-Straight Alliance access paperwork to file a complaint against the administration, she was told her contract would not be renewed despite positive performance reviews. Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of Frost.
Know Your Rights – For Employers: We’re expanding our hub to include information in both English and Spanish for employers looking to follow nondiscrimination laws and make their workplaces more welcoming and affirming for LGBT and HIV-affected employees.
Continuing The Fight For ENDA: In 2015, we plan to continue the fight for federal sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination law, including employment; helping guide the policy and legislative strategies.
Fighting Religious Exemptions: In 2014, the forces of today’s religious conservative movement succeeded in elevating religious interests over equality in the marketplace, in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case. While this case does not directly affect LGBT equality, we must continue to collaborate within a broad, inclusive movement against the use of religion to discriminate.