Justice Department Says Title VII Does Not Cover Employment ‘Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation’

The Justice Department filed an amicus brief Wednesday saying that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover employment “discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

The DOJ filed the brief in the case of Donald Zarda, who had filed suit against his former employer Altitude Express in a case that questions whether sexual orientation is included in Title VII’s protections.

Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

Zarda was a skydiving instructor who said he was fired after disclosing his sexual orientation to a customer. He died in a skydiving accident before the case went to trial, and executors of his estate have continued the lawsuit on his behalf.

“The sole question here is whether, as a matter of law, Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination. It does not, as has been settled for decades. Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts,” according to the DOJ’s brief.

It concluded “that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation.”

The American Civil Liberties Union blasted the DOJ’s position as a “gratuitous and extraordinary attack on LGBT people’s civil rights.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Diane Ruggiero and Madison Park