Employment protections are in place for gay, lesbian and bisexual workers states a new report by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The report, issued via 3-to-2 vote on Wednesday, declares the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protect employees who suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation. The ruling, according to attorneys with Lambda Legal, authoritatively recognizes that federal workers mistreated because of their sexual orientation have a claim under Title VII. Additionally, courts must now carefully consider logic articulated in the ruling that sex discrimination happens when women, but not men, are mistreated due to their attraction to women and vice versa.
"Given the clarity and logic of this opinion, most courts are likely to stop simply referring to old, illogical rulings about Title VII coverage," said Greg Nevins, Counsel and Employment Fairness Strategist for Lambda Legal.
Nevins said the landmark decision by the EEOC confirms what Lambda Legal has long argue that discriminating against gay, lesbian and bisexual employees violates federal law.
The EEOC's ruling is a direct result of a complaint filed against former U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx by a Florida air traffic control specialist in 2013. Wednesday's ruling was greeted with universal applause from gay and lesbian community based organizations.
“The EEOC’s ruling put a federal stamp of approval on a long-held corporate best practice of
including sexual orientation and gender expression in non-discrimination policies. By allowing
workers to feel protected in the workplace, they are empowered to bring their best selves to the
workplace, which increases productivity, raises performance levels, and retains top LGBT talent,”
said National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce co-founder and president, Justin Nelson. “We hope to see state and local governments apply the same principles of inclusion to their workplace protection codes, resulting in a national Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would ensure the well-being of America’s diverse and innovative workforce.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, transgender federal employees are protected under existing law as the result of the landmark decision in the case of Mia Macy v. then Justice Secretary Eric Holder in 2013. In a statement, the ACLU hailed the EEOC's ruling.
“The fight for basic civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people just took a big step forward,” said American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project director, James Esseks.