Federal Commission Takes Step Toward LGBT Workplace Protections

By Adam Polaski • July 16, 2015 • 6:30 pm

In a decision dated July 15, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) concluded that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation – and that the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act also covers sexual orientation. In 2012, the EEOC ruled similarly in a separate case, finding that gender identity-based discrimination against transgender Americans is covered by Title VII. Read the full decision here.

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Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed explains: 

The ruling — issued without objection from any members of the five-person commission — applies to federal employees’ claims directly, but it also applies to the entire EEOC, which includes its offices across the nation that take and investigate claims of discrimination in private employment. And, while only the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the interpretation, EEOC decisions are given significant deference by federal courts.

The decision is a landmark step in the right direction for LGBT Americans. And while the EEOC decision marks an important step forward, it also highlights the urgent need for comprehensive, federal laws protecting LGBT Americans from all discrimination.

Freedom for All Americans Campaign Manager Matt McTighe said today:

This EEOC ruling affirms what so many Americans already know to be true: discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace is wrong. This highlights the clear need for a comprehensive, federal nondiscrimination bill that thoroughly addresses discrimination LGBT people face in all aspects of their lives, in and beyond the workplace – including housing, public accommodations, education and finance.

McTighe continued: “Only through comprehensive federal legislation can we ensure uniform nondiscrimination protections apply to all LGBT people, without question. Comprehensive nondiscrimination protections against LGBT people are strongly supported by Americans from all walks of life. We’ll continue working to ensure our laws at the municipal, state and federal level recognize that LGBT Americans deserve to live free from the fear of discrimination.”


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