Busi­nesses seek case on gay rights on job

The Mercury News - - Other Views -

Some of Amer­ica’s most well­known com­pa­nies are urg­ing the Supreme Court to rule that a fed­eral em­ploy­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion law pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion based on a per­son’s sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, a po­si­tion op­po­site of the one taken by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The 76 busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions — in­clud­ing Amer­i­can Air­lines, Ap­ple, eBay, Face­book, Google, Star­bucks and Microsoft — filed a brief Wed­nes­day en­cour­ag­ing the high court to take up the is­sue. They want the court to take a case out of Ge­or­gia in which a gay wo­man who worked as a hospi­tal se­cu­rity of­fi­cer says she was ha­rassed and pun­ished for dress­ing in a male uni­form and wear­ing her hair short.

The ques­tion in her case is whether a fed­eral law bar­ring work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion “be­cause of ... sex” cov­ers dis­crim­i­na­tion against some­one be­cause of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

The Equal Em­ploy­ment Op­por­tu­nity Com­mis­sion un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama took the view that it does. But Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion has ar­gued that Ti­tle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars dis­crim­i­na­tion based on gen­der but doesn’t cover sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

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