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EEOC says sexual orientation discrimination is illegal

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2016 | Workplace Discrimination |

LGBT workers in California may be pleased to learn that the EEOC has filed two discrimination lawsuit that argued that sexual orientation discrimination is already prohibited under federal law. This follows a decision that was made by the EEOC in July 2015 that stated that discrimination against sexual orientation was illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC argued that sexual orientation discrimination was sex discrimination due to the fact that gay and lesbian couples were being discriminated against based on the gender of their partners. However, proving that people have been discriminated against due to their gender and their sexual orientation can be difficult. If the person has direct evidence, it may be easier to make the case. Direct evidence can include jokes about the person’s masculinity or femininity or calling the person slurs.

There are pieces of indirect evidence that can also bolster a case. For example, if an employee who had a good record prior to marrying their partner suddenly finds that they are being written up for things that they were not written up for before, there may be a problem. If they are excluded from client meetings, lunches or even promotions while their straight coworkers are not excluded, the employee may have a discrimination case.

Workplace discrimination can create a hostile workplace and lower morale for employees. If employees are losing out on training or workplace opportunities due to their gender or their sexual orientation, they may want to discuss their options with an employment law attorney. Legal counsel may, after a review of the case, make the determination to initiate the process by filing a claim with the EEOC.