Scroll To Top
Politics

Former FAA Employee Sues, Alleging Antigay Discrimination

Former FAA Employee Sues, Alleging Antigay Discrimination

Miami Airport

The man whose case led to a landmark EEOC ruling is pursuing his claim in federal court.

trudestress

A gay man who formerly worked for the Federal Aviation Administration is suing the government agency for discrimination, and he hopes to make a larger point.

David Baldwin, who worked at the FAA's control tower at Miami International Airport, filed suit last week in U.S. District Court in Florida, alleging he was passed over for promotions and subjected to a hostile environment because he's gay, BuzzFeed reports. And he happens to be the man whose case led to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's ruling this summer that existing civil rights law's ban on gender discrimination also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Baldwin's name was redacted from documents released by the EEOC at the time of the ruling, but he revealed his identity in an interview with the Washington Blade shortly thereafter. With his lawsuit, Baldwin hopes to expand the scope of the EEOC ruling, which is binding only on federal agencies and may be interpreted in different ways by various courts regarding other employers, BuzzFeed notes.

"While the decision by the EEOC in Baldwin v. Foxx was a giant step forward for extinguishing sexual orientation discrimination by allowing federal employees to pursue sexual orientation claim under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VII, it was just a small step forward for nongovernment employees," Lowell Kuvin, Baldwin's lawyer, told BuzzFeed Monday. "The next logical step for Mr. Baldwin, who would like to see the protection of Title VII extended to nongovernment employees alleging sexual orientation discrimination, was to bring the issue to the federal courts."

Protection against workplace discrimination stands to affect more people than marriage equality, Kuvin added. "There are more gay men and women who have jobs than same-sex couples who want to get married," he told the site.

When the EEOC agreed that existing law covered sexual orientation discrimination, it gave Baldwin 90 days to bring a case in federal court. His suit, filed last Tuesday, names U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta as defendants.

It alleges that Baldwin's supervisors and coworkers objected to mentions of his same-sex partner -- for instance, that they attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans together and that Baldwin's partner fixed his lunch every day. These remarks were called "inappropriate" and drew comments such as "We don't need to hear about that gay stuff," according to the suit. Employees in opposite-sex relationships mentioned their partners routinely, and no one complained, the document notes. It also says Baldwin was not selected for a permanent frontline management position at the tower, due to the fact that he's gay.

Baldwin sought to resolve the matter without resulting to a lawsuit, Kuvin said, but the FAA did not respond. The suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and legal fees, among other relief, and Baldwin asks for a jury trial.

The FAA and the Department of Transportation did not respond to BuzzFeed's requests for comment.

trudestress
Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.