1964 Civil Rights Act Protects LGBT Employees, Judge Rules

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The 52-year-old Civil Rights Act protects the LGBT community, a federal judge has ruled.

In a landmark victory for the community, Federal Judge Cathy Bissoon of Pittsburgh affirmed Civil Rights Act provision Title VII protects those on the LGBT spectrum.

Related: United Nations Appoints First Expert on LGBT Violence and Discrimination

Specifically, the 1964 provision — which prohibits employers from discriminating sex, race, religion, color and national origin — now includes “sexual orientation” under the “sex” umbrella.

“There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality,” the judge wrote in her ruling. ““As the EEOC states, ‘(d)iscriminating against a person because of the sex of that person’s romantic partner necessarily involves stereotypes about ‘proper’ roles in sexual relationships – that men are and should only be sexually attracted to women, not men.’”

The ruling came from a case between Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Scott Medical Health Center. One gay employee at the center claimed he was addressed as “fag,” “queer” and a number of other homophobic terms.

The judge sided with the EEOC, dismissing Scott Medical Health Center’s claim that there is no law against discriminating employees for their sexual orientation.


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