Rhode Island is where Lori Franchina is claiming victory after winning an appeal in court regarding a discrimination lawsuit that she filed against her employer. She was an employee of the Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department. However, she filed suit against them and won that lawsuit in 2016. The City appealed the ruling and it was taken to a higher court.
The lawsuit stated that she was discriminated against both for being a woman, but also for being a lesbian. The lower court found this to be true, and they awarded Franchina a six-figure dollar amount as a result.
The City objected to a lot of things that went into the ruling from the court. They said that they did not believe that the facts of the case made it qualify as a "sex plus" discrimination lawsuit. The argument made by the City was not accepted by the Court. They literally did not accept that the law required that Franchina take the steps that the City obviously believed she had to in order to be discriminated against.
The higher court looked at all of the evidence of the case, and even examined how the lower court had ruled and why they ruled that way. Even after all of that, the higher court could not find any reason to overturn what the lower court had done. They determined that it was the right action, and they upheld the ruling.
The award of $700,000 plus more than $100,000 in legal fees definitely seemed to be the primary motivation for the City to have appealed the case and fought it so hard. In the end it did not matter as they lost anyway.
A case like this goes to show that LGBT individuals have an even higher likelihood of being discriminated against in the workplace. It doesn't even matter if the person is out of the closet or not about the sexuality, they can be targeted by their co-workers for almost any reason. It is a truly scary thing to think about. We are all very lucky to have someone brave like Lori Franchina to fight these types of lawsuits. She has stood up and said that this is not right, and that something should be done about it.
Discrimination is not going to end over one lawsuit, but it is nice to see that the courts have ruled that when this kind of thing does happen, that someone will have to pay for it.