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June 23, 2017

Rutgers prof: PA needs to do better job with LGBT discrimination claims

Katie Eyer, Rutgers law professor PROVIDED/KATIE EYER

Rutgers law professor Katie Eyer and 22 additional law professors from the region told the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission that it's not keeping up with federal standards in processing LGBT complaints.

Pennsylvania should follow the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s approach when it comes to considering LGBT discrimination claims, according to a law professor at Rutgers University in Camden.

Katie Eyer recently authored a letter – signed off on by more than 20 colleagues – urging the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to routinely treat all LGBT discrimination complaints as sex discrimination complaints.

That’s not currently spelled out under Pennsylvania law. New Jersey’s anti-discrimination laws, on the other hand, expressly cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission had sought input on the issue.

"The EEOC has recognized that gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination should categorically be deemed sex discrimination," they wrote. "The federal courts have long taken a similar position with regard to gender identity discrimination."

Eyer is a graduate of Yale University’s law school and went to Columbia University as an undergrad. She has specialized in employment discrimination, with a focus on LGBT issues. She joined Rutgers in 2012.