News & Analysis as of

Hairstyle Is Not a Protected Category but Sexual Orientation Likely Is

Several recent decisions have opened the door to further scrutiny regarding discrimination and the basis for a finding of discriminatory conduct by an employer. These decisions continue to show the volatility of...more

Takeaways from the EEOC’s Loss of Noteworthy Transgender Rights Case

Since the EEOC first ruled in 2012 that discrimination based on transgender status constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title VII, the EEOC has continued to expand protections for transgender employees, finding that...more

Is There a Change in the Wind for LGBTQ Law?

Unlike many of us, the courts were not on vacation during the month of August in the area of LGBTQ law. We have seen a number of rulings which seem to signal that the courts are trying to “slow down” the EEOC and other...more

Is Religious Freedom a Defense to LGBT Discrimination Claims?

Certainly, the trend in employment law has been toward greater equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land due to the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer...more

Transgender Claim Meets Dress Code

The worlds of transgender versus religious rights collided hard recently when an EEOC action on behalf of a discharged transgender worker ran full force into a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) defense, and the EEOC...more

Seventh Circuit Holds Title VII Does Not Prohibit Sexual Orientation Discrimination, But Acknowledges Inherent Flaws in Precedent...

In a carefully reasoned but ultimately restrained opinion the Seventh Circuit held that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. While declining to become the first circuit...more

Is Sexual Orientation a Protected Category under Title VII?

That question has been asked for many years, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 (U.S. v. Windsor) and subsequently held state bans of same-sex marriages are...more

Seventh Circuit Holds that Title VII - as it Stands - Does not Encompass Sexual Orientation Discrimination

In Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, 2016 WL 4039703 (7th Cir. July 28, 2016), the court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) does not encompass claims for sex discrimination based on sexual...more

The Writing is on the Wall, Yet Seventh Circuit Holds Sexual Orientation Is Not a Protected Class Under Title VII

Earlier this week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College that Title VII does not protect employees or offer redress for discrimination based on sexual orientation. As a result,...more

Huh? Title VII And Sexual Orientation Bias, Revisited

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided last week in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College that sexual orientation discrimination is not prohibited by Title VII, consistent with a long line of appellate court...more

Employment Law Commentary, July 2016: The EEOC’s New Focus On LGBTQ Discrimination: How To Stay Out Of The Headlines

The year 2015 was a breakthrough year for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. Just over a year ago, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision on marriage...more

EEOC LGBT Cases in the News

Settlement of Sexual Orientation Case – The EEOC and a Maryland employer have settled a landmark sexual orientation discrimination case. EEOC v. Pallet Companies d/b/a IFCO Systems NA, Inc. was filed in March 2016, and was...more

EEOC Settles First Sexual Orientation Discrimination Suit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last week that it had settled a suit against Pallet Companies (doing business as IFCO Systems) for $202,200. As we previously discussed here, this suit is one...more

Courts Consider New Definition Of “Sex” Discrimination – What It Means For Pennsylvania Employers

Can employees in Western Pennsylvania sue their employer for sexual orientation discrimination under federal law? Right now, the answer is no – but that may be changing soon. In a landmark case called EEOC v. Scott...more

Employment Law Navigator – Week in Review: June 2016 #2

Last week, the National LGBTQ Task Force and the District of Columbia’s Office of Human Rights issued a new report entitled Valuing Transgender Applicants & Employees: A Best Practices Guide for Employers. This follows the...more

Discrimination of LGBT is Sex Discrimination: EEOC Guidance Clearly Outlines the Commission’s Position

As discussions regarding the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) employees in the workplace increase, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC” or “Commission”) offers guidance concerning...more

The EEOC Calls for Federal Judge to Continue with Sexual Orientation Discrimination Case

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) asked U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Bissoon in the Western District of Pennsylvania to reject a motion to dismiss in a lawsuit alleging a worker was discriminated against...more

EEOC: Denial of Transgender Employees' Access to a Common Restroom Violates Title VII

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a "Fact Sheet” setting forth its position that denying an employee equal access to a common (i.e., multi-user) restroom corresponding to the employee's...more

Government Outlines Key Labor and Employment Initiatives

Representatives of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice (DOJ), participated in an American Bar Association Equal Opportunity Law conference in...more

Louisiana Governor Signs LGBT Discrimination Executive Order in Public Employment and Services

On April 13, 2016, Louisiana’s new governor, John Bel Edwards, signed an executive order protecting state employees and employees of state contractors from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual...more

Bathroom Bills: What Employers Need To Know

Seyfarth Synopsis: The passage of “Bathroom” or “Religious Freedom” bills raises issues for employers operating in impacted states. Employers in these states may wish to consider taking proactive and affirmative steps in the...more

Mixed Messages on LGBT Protections

NYC Guidelines Strengthen Transgender Protections in Employment; NC Law Eliminates Local LGBT Protections Altogether.  Confused, Anyone? I don’t envy employers these days. It ain’t easy staying on top of all of the...more

The LGBT Question the EEOC is Putting to the Test

Does Title VII Cover Sexual Orientation Discrimination? The EEOC is getting serious about sexual orientation discrimination: in the two lawsuits filed earlier this month, the EEOC argues—for the first time in court—that...more

Fourth Circuit Ducks Transgender Discrimination Coverage Under Title VII

In recent months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated its position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or...more

Hostile Work Environments and Sexual Orientation: EEOC Files First Federal Suits

Normally in this space we write about court decisions that have already occurred and are likely to impact employers. This week, we focus on cases that have just been filed and could have far reaching implications. In a...more

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