NEW YORK –– On Thursday afternoon, Buzzfeed reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that pre-existing civil rights laws –– namely, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 –– already prohibits sexuality-based discrimination (or sex stereotyping) in the workplace.

The ruling is a genuine game-changer that will further solidify legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees.

“This landmark opinion from the EEOC confirms what we have long argued in our cases,” said Greg Nevins, Counsel and Employment Fairness Strategist for Lambda Legal. “Discriminating against gay, lesbian and bisexual employees violates federal law. Given the clarity and logic of this opinion, most courts are likely to stop simply referring to old, illogical rulings about Title VII coverage.”

Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, agreed.

“Discrimination has no place in America, plain and simple,” he said. “This historic ruling by the EEOC makes clear they agree workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation –– much like gender identity ––is illegal. While an important step, it also highlights the need for a comprehensive federal law permanently and clearly banning LGBT discrimination beyond employment to all areas of American life. We remain fully committed to making that happen.”

A spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed the ruling to The Advocate, saying that although commissioners did not include consideration of transgender employees, they, too are protected by existing law. That was first established in the historic case of Mia Macy against then-Justice Secretary Eric Holder in 2013.



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