Fifth Circuit Upholds Ruling Against Claim of Employment Discrimination Based on Transgender Status But Leaves the Door Open to Future Argument of the Issue

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

In an opinion issued yesterday in Wittmer v. Phillips 66 Company, the Fifth Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of summary judgment in favor of Phillips 66 on a claim of employment discrimination based on transgender status. 

The Court of Appeals went beyond merely upholding the lower court’s summary judgment however. In its opinion, the Fifth Circuit expressly rejected the district court’s determination that Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on transgender status

The Fifth Circuit pointed to its past precedent holding that Title VII does not prohibit sexual orientation discrimination and faulted the district court for not distinguishing this case from that precedent.  Interestingly, this decision leaves some room for the possibility that the Fifth Circuit might someday hold that Title VII does in fact prohibit transgender employment discrimination as long as the case is distinguished from discrimination based on sexual orientation, which the court has already ruled is not prohibited.

Here is the text of the Fifth Circuit opinion.

Here is a link to the Fifth Circuit oral argument.

Here is the text of the original district court opinion.

One Senator Blocks Trump-Nominated Reappointment of EEOC’s only LGBTQ Commissioner

Chai Feldblum, a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Chai Feldblum, a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

GOP senator Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah has used his power in the Senate to block the reappointment of the EEOC’s only LGBTQ commissioner, Chai Feldblum, because her existence is a "threat to marriage."

This is a real blow to American workers, especially those who are disabled. Feldblum, an Obama appointee who was re-nominated by President Trump, has spent most of her time on the Commission championing the rights of the disabled in the workplace.

In her capacity as an EEOC commissioner, she has little to nothing to do with any laws or policies having to do with marriage. So when it comes down to it Senator Lee doesn't like her because she is a lesbian.

Meanwhile, this will leave the EEOC without a quorum in 2019, making it more difficult for the agency to conduct business.

In my opinion, Sen. Lee is abusing his power as a member of the U.S. Senate. To block a Trump-appointee who has a long track record of being a strong advocate for workers in general and the disabled in particular based on nothing more than one’s personal religious preference is misguided and harmful to an extremely important federal agency.

I don't think anyone should be very happy about it.

Read the entire story here.

With $500K Appeal Looming, Local Veterans Concerned By Bexar County Commisioners’ Termination of Benefits Officer; Officer Alleges Political Retribution

Local Verterans Benefits Officer Terminated

Local Verterans Benefits Officer Terminated

“U.S. Army veteran Steven Price just had hip replacement surgery for the second time. Price has been fighting for his service disability status to be upgraded from 70 percent to 100 percent for decades, starting in 1988 when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) diagnosed his hip and low back issues as congenital bone disease....The difference between winning and losing his appeal is about $500,000 in retroactive pay, he said.”

But his case manager, Bexar County Veterans Service Officer Queta Rodriguez, was fired Nov. 9 and her position was eliminated in a decision she calls political retaliation for running against County Commissioner Paul Elizondo earlier this year. Bexar County Commissioners voted 3-1, with Elizondo abstaining, to approve the selection of a new veterans service office director and cut Rodriguez's position.

”The Commissioners' decision has left the veterans service office without a full-time accredited claims officer – and likely for a while.” Price and other veteran’s are upset that political retribution may be hurting their chances to get the benefits they so terrible need. 

Read the entire article at the Rivard Report.

 

 

 

Women lose $513 billion a year in wages due to gender pay gap

piotr-krzyzanowski-690545-unsplash.jpg

Women experience $513 billion in lost wages a year because of the stubborn pay gap that persists between them and their male peers, according to a new report from the American Association of University Women.

The consequences of women earning 80 cents on average for every dollar brought home by a man can impact nearly every aspect of their lives, from the ability to pay off college debt to their decisions about having children to how financially stable they are when they ultimately retire.

The wage disparity begins to widen almost immediately, with 20-year-old working women tending to earn 90 cents for every dollar paid to a male peer. But, by the time they turn 54, women are earning 22 cents less on average, according to the AAUW report.

Read the full story here.

Sexual Harassment can Affect Health for Decades

Source: Picpedia

Source: Picpedia

Illnesses can include high blood pressure, poor quality sleep, anxiety, even depression

Many say that time heals all wounds. But that’s not true. The impact of workplace sexual harassment or sexual assault can result in lingering health problems years after the experience, a new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal says.

The study, “Association of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault With Midlife Women’s Mental and Physical Health”, set out to answer the following question: Do women with a history of sexual harassment or sexual assault have higher blood pressure, greater depression and anxiety, and poorer sleep than women without this history.

It found that women with a history of workplace sexual harassment had “significantly higher odds of hypertension and clinically poor sleep than women without this history, after adjusting for covariates”. Women with a history of sexual assault had significantly higher odds of clinically significant depressive symptoms, anxiety, and poor sleep than women without this history, after adjusting for covariates, it says.

Read the Entire Article at Entrepreneur.com

How Getting Fired Is More Financially Devastating for Women

Sex Discrimination Has Devastating Economic Consequences

Sex Discrimination Has Devastating Economic Consequences

Getting fired is almost always difficult and disappointing, but research suggests the impacts are far more devastating for women than men.

In fact, while men typically bounce back stronger, earning an average of 1.3% more in their subsequent role, women typically see their salaries decrease by an average of 24%, according to a recent study by Insurance Quotes.

“The salary decrease that we’re seeing in this study is really significant,” says Insurance Quotes media relations associate Bri Godwin. “That’s enough to really change how you live your life.”

Read the rest of the Article at FastCompany.