Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation -- The Wave Grows - NATIONAL LAW REVIEW

by Bennett L. Epstein
Originally published: May 15, 2017

Back in March we explored the question, “So – Are LGBTQ Rights Protected Under Federal Employment Law or Not?” In that article, which unpacked a recent federal court decision on LGBTQ workplace protections, we concluded that “it depends.”  While the issue is far from settled and the answer still remains “it depends,” two additional federal decisions over the past two months indicate what may be a growing wave of courts finding that LGBTQ status is protected under federal employment discrimination law.

On April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (covering Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) cast aside its own precedents as well as the positions of almost every other appellate court by finding that sexual orientation is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Within the states covered by the Seventh Circuit, sexual orientation is now accorded the same protections as race, color, religion, national origin and gender.  Having been decided a little more than a month ago, that case is now “old news” in this readily-evolving area of law.