There’s just no rest for employment lawyers this summer. We had another exciting week. The biggest news was the EEOC’s ruling
that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The agency found that an air traffic controller could maintain a claim alleging that he was passed over for a promotion because he was gay. Basing its decision in part on Justice Scalia’s opinion in Oncale v. Sundowner
, the agency wrote, “Sexual orientation discrimination also is sex discrimination because it necessarily involved discrimination based on gender stereotypes.”
The EEOC’s ruling did not surprise agency-watchers. Commissioner Chai Feldblum has previously made statements
about her desire to address sexual orientation discrimination, saying “I think it would benefit everyone, the agency, the development of the law if we got a case that presented the sexual orientation issue as clearly as the transgender issue.”
It remains unclear whether or not courts will adopt the EEOC’s view and extend Title VII’s protections to individuals claiming discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Wage and Hour