• Source: Wikimedia
  • Breaking: In Historic Ruling, EEOC Finds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Already Illegal

    Gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers already have employment discrimination protections under federal law, the EEOC just ruled.

    After decades of fighting for protections against discrimination in the workplace, gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees are actually covered under federal law already, the EEOC has ruled this afternoon. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds GLB workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    The EEOC finds today that "allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex," as Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner first reported.

    Today's ruling is historic, and sets an important precedent that no doubt will lead to a Supreme Court case in the future.

    Technically, the ruling covers federal workers directly, but, as Geidner notes, "it also applies to the entire EEOC, which includes its offices across the nation that take and investigate claims of discrimination in private employment. And, while only the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the interpretation, EEOC decisions are given significant deference by federal courts."

    In short, the commission today has ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is discrimination based on sex, and thus covered under federal law.

    In today's ruling, the EEOC states that "allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex. We further conclude that allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex."

    Late last year, the U.S.Department of Justice also announced that it viewed transgender employees are covered under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade cautions, "the ruling affects only employment law. The EEOC doesn’t have authority to determine whether gender provisions in housing and education law also cover sexual orientation discrimination."

    An upcoming LGBT non-discrimination comprehensive bill that Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are set to introduce in Congress should explicitly prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in these areas in addition to employment, public accommodations, federal programs and credit.

    "We applaud the EEOC's historic determination that sexual orientation is inherently a sex-based consideration, and we encourage all gay men, lesbians and bisexual Americans who face harassment or discrimination on the job to consult an attorney and file Title VII sex discrimination claims with the EEOC," Tico Almeida of the LGBT organization Freedom to Work, told NCRM via an email statement today.

    "It's time for LGBT advocates to retire the incorrect talking point that gay Americans can get married at Noon and fired at 2:00 pm without legal recourse."

    Almeida is urging the LGBT movement to "take this historic EEOC decision and run with it by turning to the federal courts to win workplace protections across all fifty states," and suggests the Supreme Court will be more responsive than the U.S. House of Representatives.

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    • commented 2015-07-17 12:00:22 -0400
      Vincent, the EEOC never defined sexual orientation as a discriminatory act until now so if your situation happened now you could have a case of discrimination from the comments made by your manager. This is gigantic because before, as you found out, there was no legal recourse when your boss fires you for being lgbt. This article is not BS as you claim because this is a brand new ruling to define the law that is already written. Now we need to go further and ensure that lgbt are not discriminated in other ways, such as housing.

    • commented 2015-07-17 11:18:27 -0400
      All of this is based ion presumption of the legitimacy of the concept of sexual orientation. If demonstrated to be delusional, the argument falls apart. Have fun, lawyers.

    • commented 2015-07-17 00:08:20 -0400
      Actually, the EEOC ruled back in 2012 that discrimination against a transgender person is considered sex discrimination under Title VII. Many of us gays were too wrapped up in fighting for marriage equality to notice. Search for “Mia Macy EEOC” for more info.

    • commented 2015-07-16 21:45:16 -0400
      This is BS I worked for my last employer EZ Money in 2013 for over 5 years and they brought in (Kesha Dickens) as “acting” manager who apparently had an issue with my sexual orientation and made it known on a conference call in front of all the other store managers. I wrote to HR and let them know what happened then I contacted EEOC because the HR Manager (Irma) sided with Kesha. They then forced me to transfer into a under performing store and moved the manager from the under performing store into mine. When I asked to transfer out of Kesha’s district because she was constantly harrassing me, I was told that there were no positions available except for on in SOUTH TEXAS. I was later terminated for going to the doctor because Ihad pneumonia and I had a doctors note. EEOC DID NOTHING AND ALL THE LAWYERS IN TEXAS JUST TREATED ME LIKE TRASH.

      So dont be mad when I say this article is BS because LGBT people do not get fair treatment well at least not in the homophobic state of Texas.

    • commented 2015-07-16 21:19:59 -0400
      No Kimberly why would it? Sexual orientation and gender identity are two completely different things and have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

    • commented 2015-07-16 19:53:56 -0400
      So here’s food for thought… Wouldn’t title VII which covers a persons “sex” with the EEOC Also cover a trans* person?

      If sexual orientation can be covered under “sex” it seems a no-brainer for sexual identity to be covered as well.

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