A federal trial court in New York has reiterated that Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions do not allow suits over sexual orientation discrimination.
Recently, the EEOC has been filing test lawsuits, alleging Title VII does cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
It even won one such case in Pennsylvania.
The same argument is apparently a tougher sell in New York.
Recent case: Jamilya, who is a gay woman, worked as a bartender and manager for a New York City nightclub for 14 years.
She claimed that during the entire time, the owner made derogatory comments about gay people and other minorities, which she found offensive.
She sued, alleging that she had been forced to work in a sexually hostile environment.
But the court tossed out the case, reasoning that Title VII has not been interpreted as extending legal workplace protection to employees based on sexual orientation.
It then sent the case to state court because Jamilya had also filed claims under New York State’s employment discrimination laws, which do protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Bliss v. MXK Restaurants, et al., No. 16-CV-2676, SD NY, 2016)
Final note: Remember that employees often file lawsuits alleging that their employer violated more than one employment discrimination law.
In this case, the employer got the federal claims dismissed, only to face the possibility of being sued under state and city anti-discrimination laws.