EEOC: Sexual Orientation Bias Violates Title VII

Discriminating against an individual because of his her sexual orientation is the same as discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declared last week.

The holding came in a case brought by a U.S. Department of Transportation employee against the department claiming he was denied a fulltime air traffic controller position at the airport tower in Miami.

The complainant’s sexual orientation claim alleges that the agency relied on sex-based considerations and took his sex into account in its employment decision regarding the permanent position. That’s a claim of sex discrimination, the EEOC concluded.

“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 opinion states.

The EEOC has a guide out on LGBT protections, “Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment: A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections, and Responsibilities.” It can be found at: http://www.opm.gov/LGBTGuide.

This case will inform the EEOC’s thinking as it brings sexual orientation discrimination lawsuits based on alleged discrimination by private sector employees.

This is my 1500th blog post! Thanks for your continued reading. I hope you find the information helpful.

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