$5 million Executive
Severance Pay
$4 million Whistleblower
$1.5 million Retaliation
$1.2 million Whistleblower
$1.1 million Age
$1 million Gender

EEOC Declares LGBT Discrimination to Be Sex Discrimination

On July 16, 2015 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or the Agency) issued a groundbreaking decision in favor of LGBT rights. According to the Agency, employers who discriminate against LGBT workers violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by discriminating on the basis of sex.

Why It Is Sex Discrimination

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on, “race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” In the ruling, the EEOC found that “[s]exual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination because it necessarily entails treating an employee less favorably because of the employee’s sex.”

The Agency uses several examples to clarify how this is so. For instance, if a female employee is discriminated against for displaying a photo of her wife, but a male employee is not discriminated against for showing a photo of his wife, the female employee “can allege that her employer took an adverse action against her that the employer would not have taken had she been male.” In effect, the lesbian employee in that example would have a legitimate claim under Title VII because her sex was unlawfully taken into consideration when making the decision to terminate. Put more simply, the employer’s decision would not pass muster because the employer would be unable to show that it would have treated employees the same regardless of their sex.

The EEOC also concluded that sexual orientation discrimination falls under associational discrimination based on sex – meaning that an employer took an employee’s “sex into account by treating him or her differently for associating with a person of the same sex.” In reaching this conclusion, the EEOC relied upon precedent in which courts have consistently ruled that discriminating against employees in interracial relationships, marriages, and friendships are protected from discrimination based on their association with a person of another race. To that end, the EEOC concluded that Title VII’s associational protections apply as equally to sex as they do to race, color, religion, and national origin.

If you have been the victim of sexual orientation discrimination on-the-job or when applying for a job, please call the New Jersey employment attorneys of Lenzo & Reis, LLC, at (973) 845-9922 or email us today for a free case evaluation.

Client Reviews
"Professional and Knowledgeable Attorney. At what was supposed to be the highest point in my career suddenly became the most harassing and lowest point of my career and I was passed over for a promotion. Not because the other person was more qualified than I was, but because I followed the law and did the right thing and the people I worked for did not like that. After researching several attorneys, my wife and I found Claudia, and the decision to retain her was the best decision we ever made. After explaining our case to Claudia, we found that she was not only extremely professional but a very caring human being. Throughout the entire process of our case, Claudia was there with us every step of the way. She explained every single proceeding that we had to go through and guided us, not only as a professional attorney in and out of court, but personally as a caring and understanding person. Because of her extensive working knowledge of employment and labor laws, Claudia was able to successfully resolve our case. My wife and I will always be extremely grateful for Claudia’s hard work and dedication, and we highly recommend Claudia Reis to anyone seeking an attorney who practices in employment and labor laws." John
"Professionalism, integrity, and determination. Outstanding representation! Chris Lenzo did an outstanding job in my employment discrimination case. He responded to my questions in a timely fashion, provided clear communication through each step of the process, and handled my case in an honest and straight forward manner. Chris’s expertise in employment law along with his hard work ensured justice would prevail in my case and got me the compensation I deserved. Likewise, Chris’s law firm staff was professional, courteous, organized, and effective. I highly recommend Chirs Lenzo’s firm to anyone with an employment legal matter in New Jersey or New York." Sofia
"Remarkable professional. I have worked with Ms. Reis and her firm for the past three years. During the consultation process, you will immediately experience her compassion as she offers suggestions and guides you through the difficult situation you are dealing with. Her attention to detail, timely follow up and candid manner ensured me that I was well-protected and represented. Ms. Reis always went above and beyond to protect me legally. She is a very strong and tough (when necessary) advocate for the individual she represents. Her support staff is equally diligent. I would recommend her without reservation." A.M.