EEOC Memo - Title VII Protects Workers from Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Author: The Human Rights Campaign
Published: Thursday 19th February 2015
Summary: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission memo says workers protected under Title VII from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as gender identity.


Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to a new field memo issued February 3, 2015, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saying that workers are protected under Title VII from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as gender identity.

As reported by BuzzFeed News, the memo is signed by Nicholas M. Inzeo, Director of the Office of Field Programs, and states:

"Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation should be counseled that they have a right to file a charge with the EEOC, and their charges should be accepted under Title VII and investigated as claims of sex discrimination in light of Commission precedent …"

"The EEOC continues to make incredibly important steps in helping to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination," said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

"We urge LGBT people who have experienced discrimination to file claims with the EEOC. While this progress has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of LGBT people across the country, comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation will ensure all courts are required to find that LGBT people have recourse under the law."

Additionally, the memo reaffirmed the position that Title VII protects transgender workers from discrimination.

The memo states:

"Complaints of discrimination on the basis of transgender status of gender-identity-related discrimination should be accepted under Title VII and investigated as claims of sex discrimination in light of Commission precedent …"

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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