Raise the Rainbow Flag: Federal Court Rules that Title VII Bans Sexual Orientation Discrimination | Joanna L. Grossman | Verdict | Legal Analysis and Commentary from Justia

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The tides turned with an EEOC ruling in 2015, in which the agency concluded that alleged discrimination against a gay man–because he was gay–constituted a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law banning employment discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics such as sex, race, ethnicity, and religion. ¬†The EEOC sparked a second look at this question, decades after several courts had dismissively, and with little reasoning, concluded that the law’s prohibition of sex discrimination is not broad enough to encompass sexual orientation discrimination. The new case from a federal district court in Pennsylvania,¬†EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, builds on a more recent trend, in which courts (and the EEOC) draw on more contemporary thinking about the nature of sexual orientation discrimination and its relationship to gender.

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