Partner Joshua Goodbaum Speaks on LGBT Rights at NELA Annual Convention

Jul 2 2018

Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. Partner Joshua Goodbaum moderated and spoke on a panel at last week’s 2018 National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) Annual Convention – Connect • Build • Advance.

Joined by attorneys Gregory Nevins of Lambda Legal and Lisa Stratton of Schaefer Halleen, LLC, Attorney Goodbaum discussed federal, state, and local protections for LGBT workers and the evolving legal landscape that surrounds them.

As the panel explained:

The Second and Seventh Circuits—in contrast to the Eleventh Circuit—have concluded that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the Sixth Circuit recently held that discrimination against transgender employees also violates Title VII (while also reversing the district court’s decision to accept the employer’s “religious freedom” defense). In the face of federal legislative and judicial intransigence over the last few decades, many states and localities have filled the gaps with statutes and ordinances protecting LGBT workers.

In addition, the panel explored recent court decisions including Zarda v. Altitude Express (2d Cir. 2018) (holding that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII); Blatt v. Cabela’s Retail (E.D. Pa. 2017) (holding, under canon of constitutional avoidance, that ADA’s exclusion of “transsexualism” does not encompass gender dysphoria); and the recent Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop.

The panel also discussed recent and anticipated LGBT legislative changes, including the rise of so-called “religious liberty” laws, such as Mississippi’s HB1523.

The panel did not directly address Connecticut law concerning LGBT employees, since Connecticut’s statutes are very protective of LGBT rights.

Attorney Goodbaum wasn’t the only Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. attorney to attend the NELA event. Partners Joseph Garrison, Ethan Levin-Epstein, Stephen Fitzgerald, and Nina Pirrotti, along with Associate Amanda DeMatteis, were there, joining more than 650 employment lawyers from around the U.S.

NELA advances employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace.

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