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One Federal Court Supports EEOC Position on Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Approximately one year ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) brought several suits alleging sexual orientation discrimination. It is the EEOC’s position that Title VII prohibits such discrimination.

In EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center, a homosexual employee alleged that his manager subjected him to egregious harassment based on his sexual orientation. The employee was called a number of slurs related to his sexual orientation by other employees including his manager. Scott Medical Center tried to dismiss the lawsuit, disputing the EEOC’s position that Title VII protects employees from sexual orientation discrimination.

A federal district court in Pennsylvania agreed with the EEOC. “There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality. Indeed the Court finds discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is, at its very core, sex stereotyping plain and simple; there is no line separating the two.” Sexual stereotyping has been held by the U.S. Supreme Court to violate Title VII. The court went on to note that forcing an employee to fit within a gendered stereotype in any way violates Title VII. The Scott decision is at odds with the decision made by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that is to be reheard by the full Circuit.