Courts often struggle with differentiating between claims of employment discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation that are not protected under Title VII and claims of discrimination based on sex stereotyping that are.
In Hivey v. Ivy Tech Community College the court ruled against the plaintiff who claimed she was denied promotion and ultimately terminated because she is a lesbian. The effort failed because discrimination based on sexual orientation is not covered under Title VII.
However, the court acknowledged some difficulty in coming to their conclusion because successful Title VII discrimination claims have been brought against employers for harassing or otherwise mistreating an employee because they are not abiding by the employer’s concept of gender norms.
Recently, all the judges of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reheard Hivey vs. Ivy Tech Community College. It may be that the court decides to stick with the status quo, which will maintain that sexual orientation is not a protected class under Title VII. However, if the court determines that sexual orientation is covered, employment law will realize a significant shift with regard to discrimination claims.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace based on sex, race, gender, religion, pregnancy, disability or other protected statuses, the employment law attorneys of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson P.C. can help. Whether you are experiencing harassment on-the-job or have been a victim of wrongful termination, we can help you understand your rights. Contact our offices today at 563-355-6478.
Source: National Law Review, “Seventh Circuit Could Up-End Approach to Sexual Orientation Discrimination”, by Tamar Dolcourt, December 5, 2016