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