Apple among 76 companies asking Supreme Court to clarify protections for gay employees

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A collection of 76 businesses — including the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft — has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case that should clarify whether a law against workplace sex discrimination also covers a worker's sexual orientation.

The absence of a federal law explicitly preventing discrimination based on orientation is hampering recruitment in the 27 remaining states that haven't adopted their own protections, the companies argued according to Reuters. The test case in the matter would revolve around Jameka Evans, a woman who said she was harassed and forced to quit a job as a security guard at a Georgia hospital because she's lesbian.

A decision on whether the Supreme Court will hear Evans's case is expected by the end of the year.

In their brief, the companies said that divided opinions in lower courts are causing uncertainty for both companies and their workers. A federal appeals court dismissed Evans's case in March, ruling that her orientation wasn't covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

In April however a separate appeals court ruled in favor of another gay worker under Title VII, and in June, 50 of the companies involved in today's petition applied similar pressure on a Manhattan appeals court.

Under President Donald Trump, who assumed office earlier this year, the Justice Department has reversed its position on gay rights, arguing that Congress didn't intend Title VII to protect LGBT individuals and that ruling otherwise would be a misinterpretation.

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