The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a New York skydiving company, Altitude Express Inc, in a lawsuit brought by former instructor Donald Zarda, who accused the company of firing him after he told a customer he was gay and she complained.
The case will require the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether discrimination against gay workers is a form of unlawful sex bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law bans discrimination based on workers’ sex, race, religion and other traits.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces Title VII, has been arguing for five years that bias against gay workers violates the law. So far, only one federal appeals court has agreed..
The EEOC will appear at Tuesday’s hearing on behalf of Zarda’s estate.
Donald Zarda died in a BASE-jumping accident after filing his lawsuit