Sexual orientation discrimination involves treating a person differently solely because of his or her real or perceived sexual orientation.
In the workplace, it may be the reason you are not hired in the first place or not promoted after landing the job. You may be harassed, wrongfully terminated or subject to other negative employment actions despite your ability to do a good job.
Although sexual orientation discrimination has long been a problem in the workplace, the rights of gay and transgender employees appear to be steadily improving in light of a recent court decision.
On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Relying on “common sense reality” the court held that a person who alleges employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has in fact put forth a case of sexual discrimination for Title VII purposes.
Although Title VII fails to expressly encompass sexual orientation as a protected class, the court acknowledged the impossibility of discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation without discriminating on the basis of sex, adding that “in the years since 1964, Title VII has been understood to cover far more than the simple decision of an employer not to hire a woman for Job A, or a man for Job B.”
The Seventh Circuit is the highest court to make the distinction, but not the first, which is certainly encouraging. However, some federal courts have rejected the claim that sexual orientation is a protected class pursuant to Title VII. Among them, the Eleventh Circuit, which just recently held that discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation is “not prohibited” in direct opposition to the 7th Circuit’s position.
Without a consensus or an act of Congress, the issue may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court where many who support protections on the basis of sexual orientation in the workplace hope to prevail.
Contact An Iowa Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer
If you have been discriminated against or harassed in your Iowa workplace or wrongfully fired from your job on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, religion or other protected classes, it is important to seek the help of an experienced Iowa sexual orientation discrimination lawyer. Des Moines employment law attorney, Marc Humphrey, has successfully represented Iowa employees who have been treated unfairly and illegally on the job to put a stop to workplace discrimination. Call our offices today for immediate assistance at (515) 331-3510.