October 17, 2021

Volume XI, Number 290

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October 15, 2021

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Sexual Orientation Discrimination Prohibited by the Seventh Circuit

This week, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.  In allowing the claim of a lesbian professor to proceed to trial, the court held that sexual orientation discrimination falls within the prohibition against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

This ruling aligns with the position taken by the EEOC that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII.  Other federal circuit courts have disagreed, however, ruling that there is no protection against sexual orientation discrimination under Title VII.  This split between the circuit courts lays the groundwork for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the issue in the future.

This decision is a reminder that employers, particularly those with employees in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, should review their policies and practices to ensure compliance with current law. 

© 2021 Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 97
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Honigman’s Labor and Employment Department is recognized for its broad capabilities, responsiveness and ability to meet client objectives.  Serving both domestic and foreign clients, we provide comprehensive counseling, strategic planning, and litigation services in a wide variety of industries.  Our client base includes publicly traded companies, portfolio companies of private equity groups, closely held businesses and start-ups.  We focus on clearly understanding the full context of each client’s situation and then develop strategies to protect their interests and meet their business...

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