Sex Discrimination

Can you Fire an Employee for Telling a Customer He is Gay?

Posted on February 28, 2018 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: An employer terminates an employee after he talks openly about his sexual orientation with a customer.  Could this constitute discrimination under Title VII?…


Federal Court Allows EEOC’s Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim to Go Forward

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: The EEOC has definitively targeted harassment and discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, taking the position that sexual orientation is covered by Title VII.  And back in March, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against an employer in Pennsylvania in one of the first lawsuits brought by the EEOC alleging sexual orientation as a form of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII (EEOC v. Scott Medical Center, P.C., Case No. 2:16cv00225 (W.D. Pa.).  So what has the court decided about the claim asserted by the EEOC?…


Requiring Transgender Employee to Use Gender-Neutral Bathroom Found to Violate Title VII

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: An employee informs you that he is transgender and is in the process of transitioning to a man.  Based on concerns about other employees’ reactions, you inform him that he can no longer use the female restrooms, but also cannot use the male restrooms. Instead, he must only use the single occupancy gender-neutral restrooms.  Is this Title VII discrimination?…


Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars and Agreement to Provide Future Training To Settle One of EEOC’s First Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits

Posted on July 20, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: One of your supervisors regularly makes jokes about the sexual orientation of one of your female employees—along the lines of how he would like to turn her back into a woman and how she would look good in more feminine attire.  She complains about the supervisor’s comments.  If she is subsequently fired, could you face a retaliation claim under Title VII?…


Does Harassment Based on Sexual Orientation Count as Sex Discrimination?

Posted on March 9, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: One of your supervisors has been making offensive comments to a gay employee about his sexual orientation fairly frequently.   The employee complains to you, but you don’t take it seriously and thus, don’t take any action.  The employee then quits.  Could you face a possible claim under Title VII?…


Transgender Employee Fired for Clear Policy Violation—Is Employer Still At Risk For Title VII Claim?

Posted on January 20, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: An employee informs you that she is going through a gender transition and then a few months later you catch her sleeping on the clock. After you terminate her (just like you have terminated others who engaged in similar conduct), she claims that you discriminated against her based upon her sex in violation of Title VII when you terminated her based on her transgender status. Are you protected from this type of claim based on the clear policy violation supporting the termination?…


EEOC Rules– Sexual Orientation Discrimination Equals Sex Discrimination under Title VII

Posted on July 24, 2015 by Elaine I. Hogan

On July 15, 2015, the EEOC clarified that, at least for claims made against the federal government, all complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation constitute sex discrimination claims under Title VII. Baldwin v. Foxx, Secretary, Dept. of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080. The case involved David Baldwin, an air traffic controller who filed an EEO complaint against the Federal Aviation Administration, claiming that he was subjected to discrimination on the basis of his sex and retaliation for his prior protected activity. Baldwin claimed that he was not chosen for a permanent position as a front line manager because he is gay, pointing to numerous negative comments made by his supervisor about his sexual orientation (like “we don’t need to hear about that gay stuff” in response to Baldwin talking about a trip with his partner and being told that he was a distraction when he talked about his male partner).…


Transgender former police officer states a claim under Title VII-but fails to show sufficient evidence of discrimination

Posted on June 18, 2015 by Elaine I. Hogan

Last week, the district court ruled that although discrimination based on transgender status was a cognizable claim under Title VII, the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate that the rejection of her application to be part of a volunteer mounted patrol was discriminatory. Finkle v. Howard County, Maryland, Case No. SAG-13-3236 (D. Md. June 12, 2015).…


Ninth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on Issue of Whether Policy Prohibiting Male Deputies from Supervising Female Inmates is Discrimination

Posted on August 8, 2014 by Elaine I. Hogan

In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit found that there were material issues of fact in dispute precluding summary judgment in favor of a county where male deputies claimed a policy prohibiting male deputies from supervising female inmates in the housing units of the jails operated by the County was unlawful sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. Anderson v. City & Cnty of San Francisco, No. 11-16746 (9th Cir. July 2, 2014).…


Summary Judgment Granted to Plaintiff Claiming FBI’s Gender-Based Push-up Requirements in Violation of Title VII

Posted on August 1, 2014 by Elaine I. Hogan

Is it discrimination for the FBI to require its male trainees to perform 30 push-ups while only requiring 14 push-ups from its female trainees in a physical fitness test? In June, a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that it was. Bauer v. Holder, Case No. 1:13-cv-93 (E.D.Va. June 10, 2014). A male FBI trainee failed to perform the required 30 push-ups and argued that this requirement discriminated against him on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII in light of the fact that female trainees are only required to perform 14 push-ups. The Attorney General argued that this does not constitute impermissible discrimination because the different standards are based on innate physiological differences between males and females and these standards impose no greater burden on men than on women.…

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