Federal court rules against Ga. lesbian fired for being gay
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.
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