Apple joins 75 companies urging US Supreme Court for gay employees' protections

Apple joins 75 companies urging US Supreme Court for gay employees' protections”

It revolves around the case of Jameka Evans, a woman who says she was forced to quit her job as a security guard at a hospital after being harassed for being a lesbian.

The amicus brief - a submission by parties not directly involved in a case - argues that allowing organizations to discriminate against gay and lesbian employees is harmful to staff, businesses and the US economy. But a federal appeals court in Chicago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, ruled earlier this year that the law covers sexual orientation.

The businesses and organizations want the high court to rule that a civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation.

Dozens of companies including Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O Google, Apple Inc AAPL.O , Microsoft Corp MSFT.O , and Viacom Inc VIAB.O have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to address whether a law banning sex discrimination in the workplace provides protections to gay employees.

Under President Barack Obama, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said that the federal law barring workplace discrimination "because of ... sex" includes sexual orientation.

According to Lambda Legal, the organisation representing Evans, she plans to appeal to the US Supreme Court. Evans' petition seeks a nationwide ruling that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title VII.

Even in States like NY that have laws barring sexual-orientation discrimination in the workplace, "Title VII plays a crucial complementary role by covering individuals not subject to the State's laws-for instance, federal employees or residents who work in another State-and by making available both the federal courts and a federal enforcer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to police invidious discrimination based on sexual orientation".

Greg Nevins, a lawyer with Lambda, confirmed that the organisation would appeal the decision.

The coalition of companies in the Supreme Court case argued for clarity and uniform positions on this issue, particularly given the different stances from the government agencies.

The 2016 statement had listed protected characteristics as "race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, genetic information, or disability". "That value is central to our business - but more importantly, it's the right thing to do".

The brief also notes that approximately 10 million adults in the United States, or 4.1 percent of all adults, identify as LGBT.

A group of 76 companies submitted a brief to the court saying a split among lower courts on that question had created uncertainty for employers and gay workers. Businesses offering transgender inclusive healthcare coverage also jumped from 511 to 647 companies over the year.

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