Justice Department Argues that Sexual Orientation Discrimination Can Violate Title VII

Sexual orientation discrimination is already illegal in many places, including Illinois.  Discrimination against gay men and lesbians as well as bisexuals and transgendered persons has become a substantial part of the practice of many employment discrimination attorneys.  But it is not, strictly speaking, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the major federal anti-discrimination law.  Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion.  The words “sexual orientation” do not appear in it at all.

Many cases address efforts to redress discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation through Title VII.  It is a complicated argument and one that often leads to disappointing results for employees suffering from such discrimination.  This week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina arguing that its new law which requires people to use bathrooms consistent with their biological gender is illegal discrimination.  The argument is one of sex discrimination.  The Justice Department said in its letter to Governor Pat McCrory asserted that access to sex-segregated restrooms and other workplace facilities consistent with gender identity is a term, condition or privilege of employment.  Denying such access to transgender individuals, whose gender identity is different from their gender assigned at birth, while affording it to similarly situated non-transgender employees, violates Title VII.

Whether the Department of Justice succeeds in this argument is yet to be seen.  But until then, or until the Federal Government passes legislation specifically directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered rights, these rights will continue to be enforced under state and municipal laws.

If you feel that you are a victim of gender discrimination, or any other form of discrimination, contact an experienced employment attorneys at Maduff & Maduff immediately.  From discrimination, to wage theft, to harassment, contact us to see how we can help with your employment law needs today.