EEOC: Discrimination Against LGBT Persons on Basis of Sex Stereotyping Violates Title VII

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found a statutory workaround to the fact that federal law does not expressly prohibit discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation.

In a posting on the commission’s website, the agency says it is using the theory of sex stereotyping to support bringing lawsuits on behalf of lesbian, gay, sexual or transsexual individuals who are denied employment due to their sexual orientation.

Since a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in which the justices found that a female attorney’s failure to conform to gender stereotyping cost her a fair shot at making partner, it’s been accepted Title VII law that gender stereotyping equates to sex discrimination under Title VII.

The commission states that it  “has also found that discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals based on sex-stereotypes, such as the belief that men should only date women or that women should only marry men, is discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII.”

And the EEOC also notes that it has filed two Title VII lawsuits on behalf of transgender individuals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and amicus brief relating to coverage of sexual orientation.

No workaround would be necessary, of course, if Congress would pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act banning sexual orientation discrimination in all private employment. But that seems like a pipedream in this Republican Congress.

Read more from the EEOC’s posting, What You Should Know about EEOC and the Enforcement Protections for LGBT Workers.

 

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