Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College

Summary

Lambda Legal is urging the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court ruling and allow Kimberly Hively to present her case alleging that Ivy Tech Community College, where she worked as an instructor for 14 years, denied her fulltime employment and promotions, and eventually terminated her employment, because she is a lesbian.

Last August, Hively filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana against South Bend, Indiana-based Ivy Tech, claiming the school was violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against her because of her sexual orientation, a form of sex discrimination. Ivy Tech successfully moved the trial court to dismiss Hively’s claim, arguing that Title VII does not protect employees from antigay discrimination. Lambda Legal argued that several court rulings and a recent decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) support Hively’s contention that sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination under Title VII and that the dismissal should be reversed.

For years, Lambda Legal has been explaining to courts that Title VII, when properly understood, protects LGBT employees.  Three of Lambda Legal’s successful efforts in 2014, in federal courts in Seattle, Chicago, and Washington D.C., were cited by the EEOC in Baldwin v. Foxx.

History

  • September 30, 2015 Lambda Legal files appeal with United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • July 28, 2016 U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirms a trial court judgment dismissing Lambda Legal client Kimberly Hively’s discrimination complaint against her former employer
  • August 26, 2016 Lambda Legal seeks rehearing by full Seventh Circuit Court.
  • October 11, 2016 Full Seventh Circuit agrees to rehear case.
  • November 30, 2016 Lambda Legal argues before 11 judges of the Seventh Circuit Court.
  • April 4, 2017 In groundbreaking 8-3 decision, the full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law.

Case Information

Status: Open

Client

Kimberly Hively

Attorney

Gregory R. Nevins, Counsel and Employment Fairness Program Strategist

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney

Karen Loewy, Senior Attorney