Google, Microsoft among companies urged federal court to back gay employees

A man sells rainbow flags near The Stonewall Inn, on the eve of the LGBT Pride March, in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, , U.S. June 24, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Vastavam web: Dozens of companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, CBS Corp and Viacom Inc urged a federal appeals court on Monday to rule that a law banning sex discrimination in the workplace offers protections to gay employees.The brief submitted by 50 companies to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan marks the first time such a large group of businesses has backed arguments about employment discrimination that LGBT groups and the administration of former President Barack Obama have made for years.The companies said bias against gay employees is widespread, with more than 40 percent of gay workers reporting harassment and other forms of discrimination in various studies. The lack of a federal law clearly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has hindered recruitment in states that have not adopted their own, the companies said.

The companies asked the 2nd Circuit to revive a lawsuit by the estate of Donald Zarda, who claimed he was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor on Long Island after he told a customer he was gay and she complained. Zarda died in a skydiving accident after filing the lawsuit.But last month, the full court, which can overturn the prior ruling, agreed to review the case. That came weeks after a different appeals court in Chicago became the first to rule that Title VII protects gay workers. A different appeals court in Atlanta, Georgia, is currently considering whether to revisit a March decision that dismissed a lawsuit by a former hospital security guard who said she was harassed and forced to quit because she is gay.