Woman says Springfield Catholic school withdrew job offer over orientation

SPRINGFIELD — On Monday, a woman said that Sacred Heart-Griffin High School a job contract was revoked when the school found out she was a lesbian. The State Journal-Register of Springfield reported that Lauren White had posted about the revocation on her Facebook page on Monday. The school told the newspaper they were bound by the Roman Catholic Church directives about marriage equality and that’s why the job offer was revoked. In a statement to the Journal-Register, Sacred Heart-Griffin President Sister Katherine O’Connor said that the school’s employee contract states that “conduct that is inconsistent with the norms and dictates of the Roman Catholic Church is grounds for dismissal.” The Springfield Diocese sent the newspaper the staff contract, which says “with respect to religion and sexual orientation, as permitted by law, we reserve the right to exercise discretion in employment decisions to employ persons who share and are committed to the values and mission of the Catholic Church.”

The school became aware of White’s orientation when she said her fiancee was a woman. The newspaper reported that government couldn’t interfere with religious institutions’ hiring and firing decisions regarding employees after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC in 2012.

Administration tells SCOTUS it’s okay to discriminate against LGBTQ

WASHINGTON — In a brief filed Friday, the Trump Administration told the U.S. Supreme Court that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t apply to anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The Washington Blade reported that the brief was filed by U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco. “The question here is not whether Title VII should forbid employment discrimination because of sexual orientation, but whether it already does,” the brief says, according to the Blade. “The statute’s plain text makes clear that it does not; discrimination because of ‘sex’ forbids treating members of one sex worse than similarly situated members of the other — and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, standing alone, does not result in such treatment.”

The brief was filed in the consolidated case of Bostock v. Clayton County and Zarda v. Attitude Express, both of which involve people who were fired for being gay. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the case on Oct.

Chicago transgender woman suing Circle K for discrimination

CHICAGO — A transgender woman is suing convenience store chain Circle K, alleging she was fired after she complained about harassment and discrimination she had experienced. Judi Brown filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, saying the company violated federal and state law. She is being represented by the ACLU of Illinois. “I was terminated because I am an African-American transgender woman and because I refused to stay quiet about the discrimination I was going through,” Brown said in a statement from the ACLU. “The discrimination and harassment were traumatizing and needed to be called out.

Lambda Legal to district court: Rescinding job offer due to HIV status is discrimination

LAFAYETTE, La. — Last week, Lambda Legal urged a federal district court judge to find that a parish sheriff violated theAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when he withdrew a job offer to a person with HIV. Lambda Legal said in a press release that Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal rescinded a job offer for William “Liam” Pierce to serve as a sheriff’s deputy after learning that Pierce was a person living with HIV. While U.S. District Court Judge Michael Juneau denied the motion because the Sheriff had not yet been deposed and some facts remain in dispute, he also expressed skepticism regarding the Sheriff’s prospects for proving the legality of the office’s conduct. The case now proceeds to trial, scheduled for January 6, 2020.

Administration pushing for change on LGBTQ at Labor Department

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is pressuring the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to change its position on employment cases up before the U.S. Supreme Court this October and issuing a new rule at the Labor Department. 

Bloomberg Law reported on Tuesday that the EEOC has kept its Obama-era policies and has continued to pursue three cases about LGBTQ discrimination up this fall. But the Justice Department is hoping to persuade the EEOC to flip sides. According to the website, political leadership in the Solicitor General’s office wants the EEOC on board to show the high court that the Trump administration is now unified in the belief that Congress didn’t have LGBTQ workers in mind when it passed a federal workplace discrimination law more than five decades ago, sources said. On Wednesday, Politico reported that the administration is working to allow contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers as part of “religious freedom.” “With this proposed regulation, the Trump administration is seeking to gut existing protections for LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities, and we cannot stand idly by,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a press release.

Gay Roncalli counselor sues school, Indianapolis archdiocese for discrimination

INDIANAPOLIS — A gay guidance counselor who was fired from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis is suing the school and the Indianapolis Catholic archdiocese for discrimination. 

The Indianapolis Star reported that it was the second lawsuit brought against the archdiocese this month. 

According to the Star, Lynn Starkey is alleging the the school and archdiocese created a hostile work environement and discriminated against her on the basis of orientation and retaliated when she complained. The newspaper said Starkey had worked at the school for 40 years until she was fired because she married another woman. From the Indianapolis Star:

The archdiocese said in a statement released Monday that it has the right “to hire leaders who support the schools’ religious mission.” 
“Catholic schools exist to communicate the Catholic faith to the next generation,” the archdiocese said. “To accomplish their mission, Catholic schools ask all teachers, administrators and guidance counselors to uphold the Catholic faith by word and action, both inside and outside the classroom.” Starkey is the second Roncalli guidance counselor to raise discrimination complaints against the school and archdiocese.

Iowa jury rules against former governor in anti-LGBTQ discrimination suit

DES MOINES — An Iowa jury has award a former state official $1.5 million in damages after finding that former Gov. Terry Branstad had discriminated against him because of his orientation. The Des Moines Register reported Monday that the jury had decided that the state and Branstad has retaliated against former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey. The jury said Branstad and the state had discriminated against Godfrey based on his sexual orientation

“It feels a little bit unreal. I’m just so happy that I and my family have finally had justice in this case,” Godfrey told the Register. From the Des Moines Register:

Godfrey, a Democrat, sued in 2012 alleging that Branstad, a Republican, pressured him to resign and cut his pay when Godfrey refused. 
“I have always treated everyone, gay or straight, with respect and dignity.

Indy teacher fired for same-sex marriage suing archdiocese

INDIANAPOLIS — Joshua Payne-Elliott, who had reached a settlement with Cathedral High School just yesterday, is suing the Roman Catholice Archdiocese of Indianapolis for discrimination. The Indianapolis Star reported on Wednesday that Payne-Elliott had not been publicly identified until now. His husband, Layton Payne-Elliott, is a teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School. Both schools are part of the archdiocese and had been ordered to fire the men for being in a same-sex marriage. Brebeuf refused and can no longer use Catholic in their name.

Indianapolis Catholic high school reach settlement with fired gay teacher


INDIANAPOLIS — Cathedral High School, which gained national attention when it fired a gay teacher to meet the Catholic archdiocese’s policy, has reached a settlement with their former employee. RTV6, an ABC affiliate in Indianapolis, reported that the school had reached a separation settlement with the teacher and will be helping them find a new job. From RTV6:
The teacher, who wishes to not be identified, was fired last month from Cathedral, per orders from the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, for being in a same-sex marriage. A little over two weeks later, the two parties have found “mutual satisfaction” that will “benefit of both parties.” According to a statement by Delaney & Delaney, the school is working with the teacher to help with future employment options for the teacher.