In recent years, there has been significant advancement regarding the recognition of the marital rights of those in the LGBT community here in California and across the country. Now, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is fighting for the civil rights of gay and lesbian workers who are victims of employment discrimination. The EEOC recently filed two claims in separate states in the mid-Atlantic against companies who, it believes, discriminated against employees based on their sexual orientation.
According to the EEOC, sexual orientation is protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under the provision against discrimination due to sex. Currently, no federal law prohibiting harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation has been passed. The EEOC is hoping that these two cases, which are the first of their kind, will prompt lawmakers to change that.
The Maryland case involves a gay woman who worked as a forklift operator. Her supervisor made inappropriate comments and gestures regarding her sexuality, and she claims that when she complained, her employment was terminated. The second case involves a Pennsylvania man who is gay. He ended up quitting his job when the administration of the hospital where he worked refused to do anything about his manager's harassment.
If the EEOC prevails in these cases, it will be another step forward for the LGBT community. No one should have to suffer through employment discrimination based on his or her sexual orientation. Many employment law attorneys here across the country and here in California will be watching the progress of these cases closely since the rulings could set a precedent that could be the beginning of the end of this type of harassment.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "EEOC files first two sexual orientation discrimination cases, including against a Baltimore workplace", Lorraine Mirabella, March 2, 2016