A federal appeals court rejected the discrimination case a former Roncalli High School counselor filed against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the school. The former counselor filed the lawsuit after the school fired her because of her same-sex marriage.
Why did the appeals court reject this case?
Basis of the rejection
When the school fired the plaintiff, a federal judge ruled that the church’s right to dismiss an employee it deems not compatible with its religious beliefs is constitutionally protected. The plaintiff attempted to overturn this ruling based on her claim that as a guidance counselor she was acting as a minister of the faith. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this defense and upheld that the church had the right to fire the plaintiff in accordance with its faith-based beliefs.
Indiana’s employment law does not protect people from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Some local governments and private employers include non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in their hiring guidelines. Employment data for the state suggests that only about 36% of the state’s 133,000 LGBT workers receive protection from local nondiscrimination laws.
75% of transgender workers in the state report harassment or mistreatment at work. 48% say they do not get promotions because of their gender identity. 30% report not getting a job because of discrimination and 21% have lost a job because of it.
Discrimination against LGBT employees in Indiana continues to be widespread. However, without specific laws to protect individuals, it is up to employers to voluntarily enact antidiscrimination policies to reduce this problem.