128 Members Of Congress Urge Appeals Court To Protect Gay Workers From Discrimination- EEOC is watching results of case

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    Jul 02, 2016 12:56 AM GMT
    While the mainstream media news has been actively scaring the American public to death this week, this happened
    2nd Circuit Court of Appeals= Connecticut, New York, and Vermont

    128 Members Of Congress Urge Appeals Court To Protect Gay Workers From Discrimination Jun. 28, 2016

    The brief was one of several filed on Tuesday urging the court to rule that sexual orientation-based discrimination is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Obama administration has not taken a position on the question.

    On Tuesday night, 128 members of Congress weighed in to urge a federal appeals court to protect against sexual orientation-based discrimination under existing civil rights laws.

    The request came in an amicus curiae — friend of the court — brief filed in Matthew Christiansen’s case before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Christiansen sued Omnicom Group, Inc. claiming that the company discriminated against him, among other reasons, because he was gay.

    Christiansen argued that such treatment should be a violation of the ban on sex discrimination found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The trial court judge agreed but dismissed the claim because she believed that she had to follow a prior decision of the appeals court — Simonton v. Runyon — in which the court found that sexual orientation-based discrimination is not covered under the law.

    Christiansen has now appealed, and Tuesday was the deadline for parties wishing to file amicus briefs on his behalf.

    “Now before this Court is the opportunity to rectify a years-long error in Title VII interpretation in the Second Circuit. The solution is straightforward, logical, just and supported by Amici,” the brief for the members of Congress urges. “This Court should recognize that ‘sex’ under Title VII encompasses sexual orientation, and Simonton and any other case law to the contrary should be overturned.”

    The 105 members of the House and 23 senators are represented by attorney Peter Barbur of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. The brief notes that all signers are co-sponsors of the Equality Act, legislation in Congress aimed at providing explicit protections in federal law against sexual orientation-based and gender identity-based discrimination.

    The full list of the members of Congress supporting Matthew Christiansen’s appeal:

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    Jul 02, 2016 1:12 AM GMT

    OMNICOM GROUP, INC., et al.,


    Plaintiff Matthew Christiansen, an openly gay man who is HIV-positive,
    brought suit against his employer, DDB Worldwide Communications Group
    Inc. (“DDB”); DDB’s parent company, Omnicom Group, Inc. (“Omnicom”); his
    former supervisor, Joe Cianciotto; and DDB executives Peter Hempel and Chris
    Brown (together, “Defendants”). In his First Amended Complaint (or “FAC”),
    Plaintiff alleges claims for sexual stereotyping, disability-based discrimination,
    and retaliation in violation of federal, state, and local laws; as well as state-law
    claims for aiding and abetting discrimination, slander per se, intentional
    infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, and labor law violations.
    Defendants, in two separate motions, now move to dismiss the FAC. As set
    forth in the remainder of this Opinion, Defendants’ motions are granted in full.
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    Jul 02, 2016 1:19 AM GMT

    Advertising exec made AIDS joke to HIV-positive worker: suit

    A supervisor at the $20 billion advertising giant Omnicom didn’t discriminate when it came to harassing his employees — ridiculing a gay man for being HIV positive, sending a straight women a gag gift statuette of President Obama with an erect penis, and ribbing another underling about his disability, a new lawsuit alleges.

    Matthew Christiansen, who filed the $20 million Manhattan civil suit Tuesday, started at Omnicom in 2011 as associate creative director. He says his boss, chief digital officer Joe Cianciotto, immediately started targeting colleagues.

    In one instance Cianciotto coughed during a meeting then turned to Christiansen and joked, “It feels like I have AIDS, you know what that’s like Matt?,” the suit claims.

    Then, for Christmas the boss gave a female colleague “a President Obama statue with its penis out,” the suit says.

    In another incident he allegedly told a staffer with cerebral palsy, “You have this creepster look.”

    Cianciotto also made crude drawings of his coworkers on white boards around the office, including a poster that showed Christiansen on his back in a bikini, the suit says. Another had an Arab coworker flying around on a magic carpet, the Manhattan Supreme Court filing says.

    After filing a complaint Christiansen was asked to leave his job last March, but stayed on. Cianciotto also no longer works for Omnicom.

    A similar suit was tossed by a federal court judge last year because federal law doesn’t protect against bias based on sexual orientation. State law does.

    Cianciotto’s attorney, Rick Ostrove, said, “This case was already thrown out of federal court and we think it’s just a matter of time before it gets thrown out of state court as well.”

    A spokeswoman for Omnicom added, “Our culture of diversity and inclusion is very important to us. While we haven’t been served with a complaint, we are very disappointed to hear the case, which was filed in May 2015 and dismissed by federal court earlier this year, has come back up. We’re confident that we’ll receive the same outcome at the state level, if/when we receive it.”


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    Jul 02, 2016 1:33 AM GMT
    Just goes to show, just because an employer, at the executive or board level, promotes diversity, doesn't mean all employees, especially middle management, will comply with the policies, I can attest first hand from my last employer. I think this is where ones "belief" interjects, just because the CEO believes all his/her employees should promote the same thing, there are many "dissenters", especially in management ranks who don't "believe" the same thing. These dissenters will put a company in legal jeopardy because they refuse to follow. The company is then forced to defend itself without disciplining the perp, especially management icon_confused.gif

    Omnicom Group scores a 85% on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index

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    Jul 02, 2016 2:12 AM GMT
    7/2/1964 (11 degrees Cancer)

    Executive Order No. 11246

    Lyndon B. Johnson
    The White House
    September 24, 1965 (1 degree Libra)

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    Jul 07, 2016 5:08 PM GMT
    The EEOC is watching the second circuit court of appeals case above

    OMNICOM GROUP, INC., et al.,

    Meet the federal agency (EEOC) working to stop anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace

    In terms of interpreting the Civil Rights Act, it makes perfect sense to me that expecting someone to marry someone of the opposite sex because of his sex is sex discrimination. But I’m curious how you think the courts are taking up this question and whether they agree.

    CF: Three circuit courts of appeal now have this question in front of them. The Seventh Circuit has had it in front of them for over a year. The 11th Circuit has had it in front of them for several months. And the Second Circuit, where briefs were just filed for a case.

    I think [the Second Circuit] is going to be the most important one to watch. It has the strongest amicus briefs, including one from members of Congress saying to not take the fact that they’re still pushing the Equality Act to mean that they don’t think LGBT people are covered under sex discrimination law, but instead that they just think it’s important to nail that down with certainty.

    But in terms of how the courts will take it, I have been incredibly gratified by the number of district court judges who have adopted one of the theories in our 2015 ruling in regard to sexual orientation. Any one of these theories gets the same result — which is per se sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination.

    Different judges have adopted different theories. For example, a district court in Alabama thought that our association argument made the most sense. So if a white man is dating a white woman and there are no problems, but then a white man is dating a black woman and gets fired for that, that’s clearly race discrimination. Just substitute race for sex and it’s clearly sex discrimination. The district court in Alabama liked that [argument].

    A district court in California thought that our sex stereotyping argument was stronger, probably because that’s derived clearly from a Supreme Court case, Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. That simply says it’s clearly a sex stereotype that men should be involved directly with people of the opposite sex. It’s discriminating against an LGB person, but it’s clearly because they don’t meet that sex stereotype. That was the district court in California applying a Title IX in an education case.

    So I’m quite optimistic. That doesn’t mean we won’t get some courts that just say no. Personally, I’m hard-pressed to figure out what their legal analysis is going to be. All the courts that said sexual orientation isn’t covered for years never really engaged in much legal analysis; they just said Congress didn’t intend this. That’s not a very strong argument, especially because there’s another Supreme Court case written by Justice [Antonin] Scalia that even if Congress didn’t think about a natural consequence of the words they used, the consequence of those words is what governs unless Congress changes those words.