October 31, 2015

Gay man abused at work and then fired. . . Court says that's fine

Vox - A gay man in Missouri said his coworkers called him a "cocksucker." They asked him if he had AIDS. They harassed him for having a boyfriend, and made fun of him when he and his boyfriend broke up. And he was ultimately fired.

But, as Think Progress's Zack Ford reported, the Western District Missouri Court of Appeals ecided this was all totally legal, and dismissed James Pittman's lawsuit against his former employer, Cook Paper Recycling Corp. "Because the Missouri Human Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," the court's majority concluded, "we affirm the circuit court's judgment dismissing Pittman’s petition for failure to state a claim."

This would all be explicitly illegal if Pittman was black or a woman and his coworkers mocked him and his employer fired him over his race or sex. But Missouri doesn't have explicit legal workplace protections for sexual orientation. And Missouri is not alone — the federal government and 27 other states don't have such laws.

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