Empowering Individuals

EEOC files sexual orientation lawsuits

Posted by Scott M. Peterson | May 09, 2016 | 0 Comments

Back in mid-2015, we highlighted an EEOC decision that found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was covered by Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination.   Now the EEOC is taking things one step further and, on March 1, 2016, sued its first two cases in federal district courts in Pennsylvania and Maryland asserting sexual orientation discrimination claims.  Read the EEOC's press release here.

Why is this significant?

Title VII (the major federal employment discrimination statute) does not explicitly list sexual orientation as a protected class.  Because of this, many courts including the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes New York State) have decisions on the books dismissing sexual orientation cases on that basis.  We will now see whether any courts adopt the EEOC's interpretation of Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination (most commonly invoked when women are discriminated against) to include sexual orientation.  In New York, sexual orientation (including perceived sexual orientation, ie., your employer thinks you are gay) is protected by the state Human Rights Law.

About the Author

Scott M. Peterson

Scott M. Peterson is the founding partner of D'Orazio Peterson, having left a partnership at a large regional law firm to limit his practice and focus on exclusively representing individuals in a small number of employment and serious injury/medical malpractice matters. Scott's favorite part of practicing law is getting in front of a jury and standing up for an individual against a large company or institution.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Personal Injury

Have you been injured at a job site, or in a vehicle? D’Orazio Peterson is an experienced Personal Injury law firm. If you have experienced serious injury due to negligence or malice, be sure to contact us to see what we can do to help you receive the justice you deserve.

Employment Law

If you were recently laid off during maternity leave or you’re having trouble at work and think discrimination is to blame, you have the right to fight back against your employer’s poor behavior. D’Orazio Peterson handles employment law cases involving FMLA violations and incidents of discrimination based on age, gender, race or disability.

Medical Errors

Medical errors are a leading cause of death, and many are preventable. We work towards eliminating those errors.