David W. Garland, Member of the Firm and Chair of the firm’s National Employment, Labor & Workforce Management Steering Committee, was cited in Law360, in “Supreme Court Cheat Sheet: 8 Cases to Watch,” by Erin Coe. (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt:
Several certiorari petitions could emerge as the term’s most closely watched cases — that is, if the Supreme Court decides to hear them. Two cases have the potential to expand who’s protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars employment discrimination based on several factors, including “sex.”
One case — Altitude Express Inc. et al. v. Melissa Zarda, as executor of the estate of Donald Zarda et al. — has to do with whether the law prohibits discrimination based on workers’ sexual orientation. The en banc Second Circuit in February revived a gay skydiving instructor’s bias suit against his former employer.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed opposing amicus briefs in the case over the scope of Title VII, with the DOJ supporting the employer and the EEOC backing Zarda.
Another case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC et al., raises the question of whether transgender workers have rights under Title VII.
The Sixth Circuit held in March that the funeral home violated the law by firing its director after she informed the owner that she was transitioning from male to female and wanted to dress in women’s clothing at work. It also rejected that the employer was shielded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which sometimes blocks the government from enforcing neutral laws against religious groups or individuals.