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Microsoft, Apple among companies urging U.S. Supreme Court to weigh gay workers’ rights

(Reuters)

Dozens of companies including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, and Viacom Inc have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to address whether a law banning sex discrimination in the workplace provides protections to gay employees.

A group of 76 companies submitted a brief to the court saying a split among lower courts on that question had created uncertainty for employers and gay workers.

The companies asked the Supreme Court to take up the case of Jameka Evans, a former security guard at a Georgia hospital who says she was harassed and forced to quit her job because she is gay.

The companies said the lack of a federal law clearly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has hindered recruitment in the 27 states that have not adopted their own such laws.

And “the uncertainty and vulnerability LGBT workers face results in diminished employee health, productivity, job engagement, and satisfaction,” wrote the companies’ lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. A federal appeals court in Atlanta in March dismissed Evans’ case, saying her claims were foreclosed by prior decisions that said discrimination against gay employees is not a form of unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Supreme Court will likely decide by the end of the year whether it will take Evans’ case. Gay rights is the latest issue to cause a rift between the business community and the Trump administration. The Trump administration says Congress did not intend for Title VII to apply to LGBT workers, and courts do n

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