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Judge rules discrimination case against Library of Congress can move forward

Thursday, April 3, 2014
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WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ruled that a gay man’s discrimination lawsuit against the Library of Congress can move forward, and that he could find relief under protections already provided under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

Peter TerVeer

Peter TerVeer

Peter TerVeer, a former management analyst, had sued the Library of Congress in 2012, claiming that he faced discrimination after his boss found out that he was gay.

The lawsuit alleges that his supervisor John Mech and Library official Nicholas Christopher, Mech’s immediate supervisor, violated Title VII by retaliating against TerVeer when he attempted to challenge their actions in an internal Library complaint.

“Mech imposed his sex stereotypes and fundamentalist religious beliefs on homosexuality upon the plaintiff, resulting in a hostile working environment,” the lawsuit alleges.

In her 34-page opinion issued Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Kollar-Kotelly rejected an argument by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia that TerVeer had not proved standing to pursue a claim that he was not covered under the guidelines of Title VII, as he was alleging grounds of illegal sex discrimination based on gender stereotyping as a gay man.

The Judge also denied a motion to dismiss the claim in a summary judgement, but did grant another portion of the defense motion and dismissed a claim that the Library of Congress violated TerVeer’s constitutional rights as well as violated Library of Congress regulations and policies.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, and gender.

Recent legal precedent has been set in federal court rulings that expand its definition to include gender identity, but not sexual orientation by itself.

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