The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, has always protected individuals from claims based on bias related to sex, but legal protections from bias related to gender identification had not been afforded to the LGBTQ+ community. In 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled, for the first time, that allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII. Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (pulled this from the website) ruled in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., No. 15-3775, 2018 U.S. App. Lexis 4608 (2d Cir. 2018), that sexual orientation discrimination is motivated in part by sex, thus, a subset of sex discrimination under Title VII overruling all prior decisions. Therefore, the employee was entitled to bring a Title VII claim for discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, as of this time, the United States Supreme Court has declined to accept any cases that pose this same issue.
While the law is not yet settled in this area, it is likely beneficial for employers to anticipate that members of the LGBTQ+ community will soon be a part of this protected class. Blair Jackson, Of Counsel at Schwam-Wilcox & Associates, successfully settled a case very similar to the one cited above. The same deadlines and statute of limitations would apply in these cases, so claims must be brought timely or potentially lost forever.
At Schwam-Wilcox & Associates, we have attorneys that can handle your employment discrimination matters.