EEOC: sexual orientation now a protected class under Title VII
by federal law, discriminating against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation for employment purposes is illegal. In its ruling in Complainant v. Foxx, the EEOC stated, “Indeed, we conclude that sexual orientation is inherently a ‘sex-based consideration,’ and an allegation of discrimination based on sexual orientation is necessarily an allegation of sex discrimination under Title VII.” The ruling was decided by a 3-2 vote. While employers could appeal the decision and attempt to get the Supreme Court’s take on the ruling, other federal courts are generally take the lead from the EEOC’s “highly persuasive” rulings. “When an employee raises a claim of sexual orientation discrimination as sex discrimination under Title VII, the question is not whether sexual orientation is explicitly listed in Title VII as a prohibited basis for employment actions,” the decision continued. “It is not. Rather, the question for purposes of Title VII coverage of a sexual orientation claim is the same as any other Title VII case involving allegations of sex discrimination — whether the agency has ‘relied on sex-based considerations’ or ‘taken gender into account’ when taking the challenged employment action.” This decision from the EEOC comes quickly on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage legal by federal law, as well as the Department of Defense’s decision to update its own anti-discrimination policies to protect gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.]]>
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