First Lawsuits Asserting Sexual Orientation Discrimination Filed By EEOC

man smilingJon Allison’s Monday Blog
Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the first two lawsuits it has ever filed taking the position that sexual orientation discrimination is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The suits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division.
In EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, the EEOC is alleging that a gay male employee was subjected to harassment because of his sexual orientation when his manager repeatedly referred to him using a number of anti-gay epithets and made offensive comments about his sexuality and sex life. When the employee complained to a supervisor the supervisor said the harasser was just doing his job. The supervisor refused to take any action to stop the harassment. After weeks of harassment, the employee resigned.
In EEOC v IFCO systems, the EEOC is alleging that a lesbian employee was harassed by her boss because of her sexual orientation. The employee’s boss made numerous offensive comments and sexually suggestive gestures. The employee complained to management and called the employee hotline. Days later she was fired.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of sex. As the federal law enforcement agency charged with interpreting Title VII, the EEOC has concluded that harassment and other discrimination because of sexual orientation is prohibited sex discrimination. We’ll see how these lawsuits play out.
EEOC Files First Suits Challenging Sexual Orientation