On Tuesday, I had a great sandwich. You see, I made a turkey and swiss sandwich at home and, in a moment of brilliance, I added some of the leftover guacamole from Taqueria La Veracruzana.
Oh, right, you’re here to learn about sexual-orientation discrimination.
Ok, forget the sandwich, let’s talk LGBT rights at work.
The real Tuesday highlight was getting to present a webinar on the latest developments in LGBT workplace rights with EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez and Lamba Legal’s Greg Nevins.
During the webinar, or maybe, it was just before we started — that sandwich had me floating on air — Greg Nevins mentioned this Title IX case, which was decided on Monday.
I haven’t talked about Title IX here on the blog before. Title IX prohibits discrimination in educational programs and other activities receiving federal financial assistance. This particular Title IX case is notable because the plaintiffs alleged that their university violated Title IX by discriminating against them on the basis of their sexual orientation. And, since courts interpreting Title IX borrow from Title VII, the federal employment discrimination statute, I perked up when the court concluded that Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation:
This Court, in its prior order dismissing in part Plaintiffs’ FAC, stated that “the line between discrimination based on gender stereotyping and discrimination based on sexual orientation is blurry, at best.” After further briefing and argument, the Court concludes that the distinction is illusory and artificial, and that sexual orientation discrimination is not a category distinct from sex or gender discrimination. Thus, claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation are covered by Title VII and IX, but not as a category of independent claims separate from sex and gender stereotype. Rather, claims of sexual orientation discrimination are gender stereotype or sex discrimination claims.
A new trend?
This is the second federal court since mid-November to conclude that sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is unlawful. (Here is the other one). And, of course, the EEOC takes the same position.
For more on “What You Should Know About EEOC and the Enforcement Protections for LGBT Workers,” check out this link.