Skillsoft Blog

Sexual Orientation Protection Under Title VII: Where Does It Stand Now, and Where is It Going?

By Wendy Fischman, Esq.

Sexual Orientation Protection Under Title VII: Where Does It Stand Now, and Where is It Going?

Although the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has, since 2015, taken the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, not all federal courts agree with this interpretation. Recently, the entire bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has taken up the issue in the case of Zarda v. Altitude Express, which involves a skydiving instructor who claimed he was fired by his employer because of his sexual orientation. The U.S. Department of Justice filed an unsolicited amicus brief with the court, contending that Title VII does not include sexual orientation among its protected classes. This has created the almost unprecedented situation of one executive agency directly opposing another in the same judicial proceeding.

Regardless of the Second Circuit’s result in the Zarda case, and absent any clarification by Congress, uncertainty will remain until all Circuits align or the U.S. Supreme Court settles the matter. In the meantime, the lack of clarity can create substantial confusion for employers.

On Wednesday, November 15, join Wendy Fischman, a partner in the Potomac Law Group in Washington, D.C., and employment law practitioner for over 19 years, for a practical and informative session on how employers can manage this issue.

In the webinar Ms. Fischman will cover:

  • the background of Title VII and the EEOC’s position on sexual orientation;
  • a brief summary of the DOJ’s amicus brief in the Zarda case;
  • the state of gender expression and gender identity protection under federal law;
  • suggestions for effective EEO and anti-harassment policies;
  • best practices to avoid discrimination and harassment claims; and
  • Q&A with the audience.

To replay this webinar, click here.

Wendy Fischman, Esq., is a Partner at the Potomac Law Group in Washington, D.C.

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