According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does apply to discrimination cases based on sexual orientation. Rulings made by the 2nd Circuit apply to New York and surrounding states. The Trump administration had argued in 2017 that Title VII was not meant to apply to homosexuals in the workplace. The case in question involved a man who claimed that he was terminated after telling a client that he was gay.
Although the man who brought the suit passed away, his estate continued the legal battle on his behalf. Companies such as Google and Microsoft took the estate’s side as the case progressed. Altitude Express Inc. was the company that employed the plaintiff, and it argued that Congress never intended to consider sexual orientation when prohibiting sex discrimination. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other groups have contended that it should as sexual orientation is at least somewhat based on gender.
The 2nd Circuit acknowledged both sides of the argument in its ruling. However, it concluded that the law can be extended to remedy problems beyond its original scope. The New York attorney general said that employees shouldn’t be punished for who they choose to love. The lawyer for Altitude Express said that the ruling on Title VII was correct even though the employee was not discriminated against by the company.
If a worker receives unequal treatment from an employer based on sexual orientation, that may be a violation of federal law. An attorney might recommend filing a claim with the EEOC.