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EEOC continues push for LGBT rights at work

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The EEOC is moving forward with an aggressive, new stance that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Discrimination complaints filed by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees have led to several big settlements. More cases are pending.

Recently settled cases

EEOC v. Pallet Companies (No. 1:16-CV-00595, DC MD, settled June 2016). Yolanda, a lesbian, used a company hotline to complain about her supervisor’s crude sexually oriented gestures. She was fired a few days later. After the EEOC sued, the employer agreed to settle for more than $180,000.

EEOC v. Deluxe Financial Services (No. 0:15-CV-02646, DC MN, settled January 2016). Britney, who is transgender, was not allowed to use the women’s restroom at work after someone told supervisors about her status. The EEOC negotiated a $115,000 settlement.

EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic (No. 8:14-CV-2421, MD FL, settled April 2015). An employee who was transitioning from male to female was fired shortly after she began presenting as a woman at work. The case was settled for $150,000.

Pending cases yet to be decided

EEOC v. Bojangles Restaurants (No. 5:16-CV-00654, filed July 2016). Jonathan, a transgender woman, alleges she endured repeated offensive comments on her sex and appearance from supervisors and others. The EEOC says that amounts to bias under Title VII.

EEOC v. Scott Medical Health Center (No. 2:16-CV-00225, WD PA, filed March 2016). The EEOC alleges that Dale, who worked at a medical clinic, had to quit after enduring numerous vulgar anti-gay slurs that his employer did nothing to stop.

EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes (No. 2:14-CV-13710, ED MI, filed September 2015). The EEOC alleges that Aimee was fired after announcing she was transitioning from male to female and began wearing dresses at work.

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