Recently, I read an article by Bob Egelko in
the San Francisco Chronicle about a speech from U.S.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in which he told law
students from U.C. Hastings that the 14th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution, which guarantees equal protection to all U.S.
citizens, do not preclude discrimination based on sex. Justice Scalia
believes that the drafters of the Constitution did not have sex
discrimination on the brain when they passed the 14th Amendment.
Ok, so the U.S. Constitution does not provide employees with a cause of
action against employers for sex discrimination. But Title VII
for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does. And so do laws in all
states and many large cities.
But what about discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation (gay, lesbian, bisexual)? Surely, I’ll
lay good odds that the framers of the U.S. Constitution weren’t thinking about GLB rights when they dotted I’s and crossed T’s on the 14th
Amendment. And Title VII does not cover sexual orientation; although a 1998 Executive Order does protect Federal Employees
from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
state and city level it varies. Let’s break it down for employers in
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware:
1. Delaware: Yes, under
the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act.
Jersey: Yes, under the New Jersey Law Against
3. Pennsylvania: No, not under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
4. Philadelphia: Yes.
6. Pittsburgh: Yes.
Pennsylvania that operate in counties without sexual orientation
discrimination laws may elect to implement HR policies that prohibit
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.