Fed­eral court rules against Ga. les­bian fired for be­ing gay

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

On March 10, the U.S. Eleventh Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals af­firmed a lower dis­trict court’s rul­ing dis­miss­ing the law­suit of Jameka Evans, a Sa­van­nah se­cu­rity guard who was forced to leave her job be­cause she is a les­bian. At­tor­neys from Lambda Le­gal, who rep­re­sent Evans in the case, say they will now seek a re­hear­ing by the full panel of 11 judges of the Eleventh Cir­cuit.

The case, Evans v. Ge­or­gia Re­gional Hospi­tal, is the lat­est Ti­tle VII case, in which LGBT and pro­gres­sive le­gal groups ar­gue that dis­crim­i­na­tion based on their client’s sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion should be ruled a vi­o­la­tion of Ti­tle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which in­cludes a pro­vi­sion that pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion based on the sex of an in­di­vid­ual. The Eleventh Cir­cuit agreed with Lambda Le­gal’s ar­gu­ment in 2011 that the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral Assem­bly vi­o­lated Ti­tle VII when Vandy Beth Glenn was fired for be­ing trans­gen­der.

Evans filed the law­suit in the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the South­ern Dis­trict Court of Ge­or­gia in April 2015, ar­gu­ing that Ge­or­gia Re­gional Hospi­tal vi­o­lated Ti­tle VII by dis­crim­i­nat­ing against her be­cause of her sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and her non­con­for­mity with gen­der norms of ap­pear­ance and de­meanor. The dis­trict court dis­missed Evans’ com­plaint, ar­gu­ing that Ti­tle VII doesn’t pro­tect em­ploy­ees from such dis­crim­i­na­tion.

“This is not the end of the road for us and cer­tainly not for Jameka,” said Greg Nevins, em­ploy­ment fair­ness project direc­tor for Lambda Le­gal in a state­ment. “Ninety per­cent of Amer­i­cans be­lieve that LGBT peo­ple should be treated equally in the work­place. The pub­lic is on the right side of his­tory, and it’s time for the Eleventh Cir­cuit to join us.”

DeVos meets with LGBT groups over trans stu­dent pro­tec­tions

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from a trio of LGBT or­ga­ni­za­tions and fam­i­lies with trans­gen­der kids met March 8 with Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos in the af­ter­math of the Jus­tice and Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ments re­vok­ing Obama-era guid­ance as­sur­ing trans­gen­der stu­dents ac­cess to the bath­room con­sis­tent with their gen­der iden­tity.

Mara Keis­ling, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Na­tional Cen­ter for Trans­gen­der Equal­ity, said the meet­ing came about as a re­sult of the Jameka Evans (l) is rep­re­sented by Lambda Le­gal at­tor­ney Greg Nevins in a po­ten­tially his­toric case for LGBT rights. (File photo) Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion re­scind­ing the guid­ance. The meet­ing was set up due to ef­forts by Equal­ity Michi­gan, which is the state LGBT group for DeVos’ home state and where she once served as head of the Michi­gan Repub­li­can Party. Ac­cord­ing to Equal­ity Michi­gan, the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment in­formed the or­ga­ni­za­tion on Fri­day she had agreed to the meet­ing.

In a state­ment, DeVos said she’s “grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity” to speak with fam­i­lies and LGBT rights sup­port­ers “about their con­cerns, thoughts, fears and sug­ges­tions.”

“Ev­ery school and ev­ery school leader has a moral re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect all stu­dents and en­sure ev­ery child is re­spected and can learn in an ac­cept­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” DeVos said. “I re­main com­mit­ted to ad­vo­cat­ing for and fight­ing on be­half of all stu­dents. To­day’s meet­ing was com­pelling, mov­ing and wel­comed, and part of an on­go­ing di­a­logue with fam­i­lies and stu­dents through­out the coun­try.”

Dis­cus­sion con­sisted of two con­sec­u­tive meet­ings — one be­tween DeVos and trans­gen­der fam­i­lies, the other be­tween DeVos and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from LGBT groups — which both lasted about an hour each, sources fa­mil­iar with the meet­ing said.

El­iza Byard, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of GLSEN, said in a state­ment that LGBT groups ad­dressed the im­me­di­ate con­se­quences of with­draw­ing the guid­ance and “ways that she might be able to mit­i­gate the pain, fear, and con­fu­sion that de­ci­sion has caused.”

ATL gay cham­ber boots trea­surer af­ter fi­nan­cial fraud dis­cov­ery

Robby Mathis, the trea­surer of the At­lanta Gay & Les­bian Cham­ber of Com­merce, has been re­moved from his po­si­tion af­ter ev­i­dence of fi­nan­cial fraud was un­cov­ered.

On Feb. 23, AGLCC board mem­bers met with Mathis to dis­cuss “mul­ti­ple sus­pi­cious pay­ments from our bank ac­counts.” Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased March 3, Mathis ac­knowl­edged unau­tho­rized use of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s funds.

The AGLCC filed a po­lice re­port that day, and AGLCC Pres­i­dent Jack Kin­ley said mem­bers will be up­dated reg­u­larly through the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, as a mat­ter of trans­parency.

“A pre­lim­i­nary as­sess­ment of our fi­nan­cial records leads us to be­lieve the loss may be in ex­cess of $60,000,” AGLCC’s state­ment read. “We con­tinue to have suf­fi­cient cap­i­tal re­serves to al­low us to con­duct busi­ness as usual while we pur­sue the com­plete resti­tu­tion of mis­ap­pro­pri­ated funds.”

Kin­ley told Ge­or­gia Voice the AGLCC does have an ac­tion plan in place, but wouldn’t say how long the fraud­u­lent charges had been go­ing on. He said Mathis stepped down as di­rected with­out any drama.

For ex­panded cov­er­age of these sto­ries and ex­clu­sive daily on­line con­tent, fol­low us on so­cial me­dia or visit us at www.the­ge­or­giavoice.com.

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