X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Black on pink buttons imprinted with the phrase “The State Bar of Texas discriminates” were ready for distribution and plans were in the works to hand out leaflets protesting the Bar’s refusal to protect certain groups from employment discrimination, but the protest at the annual meeting in Austin didn’t materialize. Leaders of the Bar’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Issues Section say they’re satisfied with the Bar board of directors’ 22-6 vote on June 14 to revise the Bar’s policy manual to include a clause prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Although the board’s action doesn’t cover everything that the SOGII section requested, Houston lawyer Phyllis Frye, immediate past chairwoman of the section, says the group scored a victory. “What happened was a big win and not what we had expected,” Frye says. In June 2000, the 3-year-old SOGII section proposed a resolution that included sexual orientation and gender identification in the manual’s listing of protected groups to assure that Bar employees who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender do not face discrimination on the job. But the proposal originally did not receive support from the Bar board’s Policy Manual Committee. Claude Ducloux, of Austin, Texas’ Hill, Ducloux, Carnes & Clark and chairman of the Policy Manual Committee, told the board in January that his committee voted against recommending the change. On June 14, Ducloux recommended that the nondiscrimination policy be expanded to cover sexual orientation. A number of state agencies in Texas already have such a policy, he says. But the Bar board did not include gender identification in the list of protected groups. Dick Miller, immediate past chairman of the Bar board, says its inclusion isn’t necessary. “My opinion is that sexual orientation would include gender identification,” says Miller, a San Saba, Texas sole practitioner. Richard Clarkson, the new chairman of the SOGII section, says the general rule is that a broader term in a rule or statute includes designations that fall under that umbrella term. The comments made by Bar leaders indicate their intent that the term sexual orientation cover gender identification and other subdivisions, he says. “That is certainly what I would argue in a law court if such an issue came up,” says Clarkson, an appellate lawyer and associate at Reaud, Morgan & Quinn in Beaumont, Texas. Kent Sullivan, a member of the Policy Manual Committee, spoke against the resolution and said the board shouldn’t expand the Bar’s liability in its personnel policy by saying anything more than the agency would abide by all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations. Sullivan, a shareholder in Houston’s Lanier, Parker & Sullivan, says that favoring or disfavoring certain groups in an employment policy appears to him to turn the policy into a political document. “When we begin looking at this in a political way, we’ve done a disservice,” he says. Miller says the Bar has not engaged in employment discrimination in the past. “In a way, this was a tempest in a teapot, but it did make some employees of the Bar probably feel more comfortable, and we are all for making people feel more comfortable,” he says. The board also added military service/veteran status to the list of groups protected under the nondiscrimination policy.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.