Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital

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Jameka Evans
Status: Open
Court:
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Issues: Employment and Rights in the Workplace

Lambda Legal asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Jameka Evans, a Savannah security guard who was harassed at work and forced from her job because she is a lesbian. The petition seeks a nationwide ruling that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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In April 2015, Evans filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia against her former employer, Georgia Regional Hospital, claiming the hospital was violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against her because of her sexual orientation and her nonconformity with gender norms of appearance and demeanor. The district court dismissed Ms. Evans’s complaint, arguing that Title VII does not protect employees from such discrimination. Lambda Legal appealed that ruling to the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that Evans must have her day in court because sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination under Title VII. But, the three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit denied Evans’ claim in early March 2017.

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. In April 2017, Lambda Legal secured a victory at the full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law. The ruling came on behalf of Kim Hively, a college instructor fired from her job for being a lesbian, whose similar Title VII claim was also initially dismissed by a federal district court in Indiana.

Learn more about Jameka and her case at the Out at Work hub.