Sending Office: Honorable Donald Norcross
Last Call- Closing 10am: Go on record supporting LGBT employment rights under the Civil Rights Act
* Endorsed by Lambda Legal
Kennedy, Lowenthal, Jayapal, Shea-Porter, Cicilline, Pocan, Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman, Titus, Susan Davis, Pallone, Moulton, Carson, Clark, Sanchez, Raskin, Higgins, Cartwright, Sean Patrick
Maloney,Esty, Takano, Crist, Evans, Sires, Polis, DeSaulnier, Brownley, Ruiz, Grijalva & Gomez
Today is National Coming Out Day and I urge you join me and sign this letter to Attorney General Jeff Session protesting his repeated decisions that make LGBT Americans more vulnerable,
specifically in the workplace. On National Coming Out Day, please help me send a strong message that LGBT employees should be free and safe to be “out” at work. Employees should be hired and fired based on their ability to do the job, not for who they are
or whom they love.
Attorney General Session’s has made it clear that the policy of his Department of Justice is that it is legal to fire, or refuse to hire, an LGBT employee just because of their status.
This letter was prepared in coordination with Lambda Legal and lays out important case law where LGBT employment rights have been affirmed. It also highlights upcoming court cases that can empower LGBT Americans. I hope you will join me in standing with LGBT
employees and making sure no American needs to hide their identity at work.
Dear Attorney General Sessions,
On this National Coming Out Day we call on you to affirm the rights of LGBT employees in the work place. As Members of Congress who are dedicated to equality, it is clear
to us that workers should feel safe to be “out” in the workplace without fear of being targeted by their employers. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating because of an individual’s sex, and for years organizations like Lambda
Legal have successfully made the case that sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination are forms of discrimination based on sex. That is why we were dismayed that the Department of Justice, under your oversight, has recently argued
that it was legal to discriminate against an employee based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity. On National Coming Out Day we urge you to reverse your decision and make it so that no LGBT American need fear “coming out” at work.
Earlier this year Lambda Legal successfully argued before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that Kimberly Hively had rights under Title VII that forbade her employer from denying her a promotion for not hiding her LGBT identity at work. Building
on this success we hope that the Second Circuit Court will rule in the case Zarda v. Altitude Express that, when Donald Zarda was fired for not concealing his LGBT identity at work, his Title VII rights were violated. We are glad that the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission filed an amicus brief affirming Mr. Zarda’s rights even if you filed an amicus brief arguing to opposite.
Even more recently, the case of Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital brings this issue to light again. Jameka Evans worked as a security officer at the Georgia Regional Hospital but was denied equal pay and work opportunities because of her sexual
orientation and for not conforming to her employer’s expectation of a female employee’s dress and mannerisms. If Jameka Evans were a man, her attraction to women would not have led to this mistreatment ; this reality is the very definition of discrimination
based on sex. Recognizing this simple truth, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found in the case of Glenn v. Brumby that Vandy Beth Glenn’s civil rights had been violated when she was fired after coming out as transgender. With legal precedents such as
these, Lambda Legal has guided Jameka Evans’ appeals and this summer appealed to the United States Supreme Court to right this wrong.
Everyone deserves the right to feel safe in the workplace. Employees should be hired and fired based on their ability to do the job, not for who they are or whom they love. All workers, whether transgender, gay or straight, deserve equal pay and
equal opportunity for equal work. This National Coming Out Day, we choose to elevate the voices of those who have needed to conceal their LGBT identity at work, while praising Jameka Evans, Donald Zarda and Kimberly Hively who, with the help of Lambda Legal,
have pushed the cause of LGBT equality forward. We believe what numerous courts have already found: that the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees, and we urge you to affirm these rights in every case and every court in the nation. National Coming out
Day is a day for LGBT Americans to step forward and live their identity, and it is all of our moral responsibility to protect them as they do.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0