A federal judge in Pittsburgh on Thursday ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is representing Dale Baxley in his claim that Scott Medical Health Center of Pittsburgh created a sexually hostile work environment because he's gay.

According to the EEOC, Baxley's male supervisor repeatedly used anti-gay slurs and made other “highly offensive comments” and inquiries about Baxley's sexuality and sex life. Baxley quit his telemarketing job after his complaints were dismissed, the EEOC claims.

The lawsuit, filed in March, is one of the first the EEOC is pursuing against a private employer.

“That someone can be subjected to a barrage of insults, humiliation, hostility and/or changes to the terms and conditions of their employment, based upon nothing more than the aggressor's view of what it means to be a man or a woman, is exactly the evil Title VII was designed to eradicate,” wrote Judge Cathy Bissoon. “Because this Court concludes that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a subset of sexual stereotyping and thus covered by Title VII's prohibitions on discrimination 'because of sex,' Defendant's Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the EEOC's Complaint fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted will be denied.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, praised the ruling.

“This is an important win for LGBTQ equality,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Judge Bissoon's decision affirms that discrimination against an individual based on their sexual orientation is fundamentally a form of discrimination based on sex – which is prohibited by federal law. We congratulate the EEOC and the plaintiff on this victory.”

(Document provided by Equality Case Files.)