U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules existing civil rights law covers sexual orientation
- The EEOC found that discrimination claims lodged by lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals against employers fall under sex discrimination, which is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- The decision applies directly to federal employees but impacts nationwide employment security more broadly because the EEOC investigates discrimination claims from the private sector as well.
- The development follows the commission’s 2014 ruling that gender identity was protected under Title VII, which the Justice Department joined later in the year.
“'[T]he question is not whether sexual orientation is explicitly listed in Title VII as a prohibited basis for employment actions. It is not,’ the commission found. Instead, the commission stated that the question is the same as in any other Title VII sex discrimination case: ‘whether the agency has “relied on sex-based considerations” or “take[n] gender into account” when taking the challenged employment action.’”
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