The intent of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to protect workers from employer discrimination, is alive and well as courts continue to use this more than 50-year-old statute to defend citizens who are unjustly targeted by their employer for their sex, national origin, race, color, or religion. And thanks to a skydiving instructor and a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sexual orientation is becoming more recognized as a status that falls under these protections.
Sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, the court recently determined in its 10-3 opinion, which mirrors a previous ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last year, according to CNN. The opinion affirms the conclusion of the 7th Circuit as well as EEOC Decision No. 0120133080 that the employee’s sex is being taken into consideration in relation to the person they are attracted to. In other words, if a male employee was attracted to a man and a female employee is attracted to that same man, punishing the male employee would be discrimination based on his sex, all other considerations remaining the same. The ruling further outlines “associational discrimination,” as a form of sex discrimination because the “employer took his or her sex into account by treating him or her differently for associating with a person of the same sex.”
This flings opens the door for others in those circuits to file lawsuits for sexual orientation discrimination. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals covers Connecticut, New York and Vermont, while the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals includes areas of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Continue reading