Firing of LI gay instructor focus of DOJ discrimination brief – New York News

A Long Island skydiving company’s decision to fire a gay instructor is the focus of a new Justice Department brief arguing that federal law doesn’t protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The brief in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, coming the same week President Donald Trump opposed transgender people serving in the military, marks a second front in conflict between the administration and LGBT-rights advocates.

The brief was filed in a lawsuit on behalf of Donald Zarda, who was fired by Altitude Express, also known as Skydive Long Island, after a customer complained about having to parachute with a gay man.

His federal claim was thrown out by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco, and a jury rejected his claim under New York discrimination laws. A 3-judge 2nd Circuit panel affirmed, and the ruling is now being considered by the full appeals court.

The Justice Department said that the language of Title VII of the civil rights act extends protection against discrimination on the basis of “sex” but not “sexual discrimination,” and should not be expanded by judicial decree.

“Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts,” the Justice Department…

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