Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed an amicus brief arguing that sexual orientation discrimination necessarily involves sex stereotyping, which is in violation of Title VII.

“Sexual orientation discrimination necessarily involves sex stereotyping, as it results in the adverse treatment of individuals because their orientation does not conform to heterosexually defined gender norms,” the EEOC wrote. “Because such discrimination is at heart based on gender stereotypes, it violates Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination against employees “because of . . . sex.” Price Waterhouse, 490 U.S. at 240, 109 S. Ct. at 1785 (citing 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1)). Thus, the district court erred in peremptorily concluding that any claim relating to sexual orientation must fall outside the protection of Title VII.”

The plaintiff in the case, Barbara Burrows, who is openly lesbian, filed the case earlier this year. She argued that she was let go from her job at The College Of Central Florida, the defendant, because she was married to a woman.

The brief, which was filed at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, marks another step for the EEOC's work on this issue.  Last year, the EEOC determined in Baldwin v. Foxx that workers are protected under Title VII from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2012, the EEOC determined in Macy v. Holder that gender identity discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.


Filed under: Federal Advocacy

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