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Seventh Circuit Court Of Appeals To Rehear Discrimination Lawsuit

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will rehear a case that challenges whether federal workplace discrimination laws cover sexual orientation.

Deborah Widiss is a law professor at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. She says the plaintiff in the case repeatedly applied for a full time position at Ivy Tech, and believes the administration didn’t grant her an interview because of her sexual orientation.

“The question is whether Title 7 of the  civil rights act of 1964,which is our primary federal employment discrimination law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex-whether sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination,” Widiss says.

If Hively were to win the case, it would be enforced in the 7th circuit, which includes Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

A panel of three judges in the 7th circuit previously ruled against Hively, but Widiss says now all of the circuit’s judges will reconsider the case.

“That said the fact that all of the judges in the circuit agreed to rehear the decision suggests that at the very least many of the judges think that this is an important enough issue that it needs to be decided by the full court, and it might suggest that they’re going to come down and hold that actually all sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination,” Widiss says.

Widiss says that would be the same position taken by the federal agency that interprets employment discrimination law.

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