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EEOC Files First Suits Challenging Sexual Orientation Discrimination as Sex Discrimination

Submitted by Firm:
Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C.
Firm Contacts:
Abtin Mehdizadegan, J. Bruce Cross, Misty Wilson Borkowski
Article Type:
Legal Update
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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") announced this week that it has filed its first two sex discrimination cases based on sexual orientation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion. Last summer, the EEOC concluded that the Act's prohibition on sex discrimination includes discrimination because of sexual orientation. Both suits claim that the employees were subjected to harassment by supervisors because of their sexual orientation.

"With the filing of these two suits, EEOC is continuing to solidify its commitment to ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against in workplaces because of their sexual orientation," David Lopez, the EEOC's general counsel, said in a statement. In light of this activity, prudent employers should review all current company policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Title VII and the EEOC's interpretation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.