Tag Archives: sex discrimination

Setting the Stage for Supreme Court Review of Whether Title VII Prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Three circuit courts of appeal have issued opinions on whether Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination. The Second Circuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont) and Eleventh Circuit (Alabama, Georgia, and Florida), relying on past precedent, have held that Title VII does not prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, on April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit (Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin) issued a conflicting opinion, becoming the first circuit to hold that sexual orientation discrimination is indeed prohibited. Now, with the circuits split on this issue, the stage is set for the U.S. Supreme Court to be asked to resolve this conflict. However, recent reports opine that the employer in the Seventh Circuit case will not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. If the employer does not appeal, another case will have to make its way through the lower courts before the divergence of opinion can take center stage at the Supreme Court.

Until the battle is fought before the Supreme Court, Florida employers should keep in mind that while Florida falls under the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and thus, arguably sexual orientation discrimination is not currently prohibited by Title VII, many municipalities, including the City of Sarasota and City of Miami, have local ordinances that prohibit such discrimination. Further, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency charged with enforcing Title VII, takes the position that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes sex discrimination and is therefore prohibited.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
(941) 552-2558

Department of Labor Announces Updated Sex Discrimination Regulations for Federal Contractors

For the first time in over forty years, the Department of Labor is publishing new sex discrimination regulations for federal contractors to reflect the current state of the law. The final rule updates the sex discrimination regulations of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and makes explicit the protections against compensation discrimination; sexually hostile work environments; discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; and discrimination based on unlawful sex stereotypes, gender identity, and transgender status. The regulations also promote fair pay practices. The new rule also implements Executive Order 11246, which prohibits companies with federal contracts and subcontractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of sex. These updated regulations should afford additional clarity and consistency for federal contractors and subcontractors, as they now reflect existing federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex.

The DOL’s final rule can be found here:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-13806.pdf

Executive Order 11246 is available here:
https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/statutes/eo11246.htm

Lindsey L. Dunn
ldunn@williamsparker.com
941-552-2556