Statement on Justice Department brief in Zarda v. Altitude Express

Out Leadership has denounced the federal Department of Justice’s brief in Zarda v. Altitude Express, currently being argued by partner organization Lambda Legal before the Second Circuit.

The brief, which the Justice Department was not required to file, argues that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should not protect LGB employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation.

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department has arrayed itself so forcefully against the civil rights protections for LGB people,” said Todd Sears, Founder and Principal of Out Leadership. “It’s just one more example of this Administration’s betrayal of Donald Trump’s promise to be a friend to LGBT+ people.”

In June, 50 companies including Microsoft Corp., Viacom Inc., and Google, filed a brief for the plaintiff in the case, marking the first time major corporations have banded together to support an interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as covering sexual orientation.

“This brief also demonstrates that the administration is completely out of step with the interests of the business community on questions of employment law,” Sears continued. “As the leadership of the companies who’ve weighed in on this case illustrates, business is once again way ahead of government when it comes to protecting the right of LGBT+ people to participate in the economy.”

Lambda Legal’s Chief Executive Officer Rachel B. Tiven issued a separate statement: “It’s a sad day in America when the federal Department of Justice actively intervenes in a case to oppose civil rights protections for people.”