A federal judge has ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring discrimination based on sex also includes bias against an individual’s sexual orientation.
Dale Baxley filed suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after his supervisor, Robert McClendon, allegedly subjected him to homophobic comments like “f*cking queer can’t do your job”; and “I don’t understand how you f*cking fags have sex.”
He claims that McClendon, who is also being sued for sexual harassment by several female employees, created a hostile work environment at the Scott Medical Health Center in Pittsburgh, where they both worked.
While Pennsylvania does not have laws prohibiting anti-LGBT bias in the private sector, Baxley’s lawyers argued he was protected by Title VII’s provision against sex discrimination.
On Friday, Judge Cathy Bissoon agreed.
“There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality,” wrote Bissoon in her decision.
“As the EEOC states, ‘(d)iscriminating against a person because of the sex of that person’s romantic partner necessarily involves stereotypes about ‘proper’ roles in sexual relationships – that men are and should only be sexually attracted to women, not men.’”
Bissoon also connected the case to precedents involving discrimination against interracial couples, as both involve bias against an individual based on their personal relationships.
More and more courts are accepting arguments that civil rights statutes against sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In fact lawyers for Gavin Grimm, a trans teen fighting to use the men’s room at his Virginia high school, will make that case before the Supreme Court next year.