EEOC Rules that Sexual Orientation Discrimination Violates Title VII

In a recent case involving a federal employee, Baldwin v. Foxx, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination and therefore violates Title VII. The EEOC is the final decision-making authority in most federal sector cases alleging employment discrimination. While this case involved a federal employee, the ruling has broad implications to impact the way Title VII is interpreted for private sector employees.

Because the EEOC is a federal rule-making authority, its interpretation of Title VII is afforded deference by federal courts in most circumstances. As a result of the decision in Baldwin, it will arguably be less of a reach for federal judges to find that sexual orientation claims are actionable as a matter of law. To date, several federal courts have found that sexual orientation claims are not actionable under Title VII; however, one federal district court last year permitted a claim based on sexual orientation to proceed.

The EEOC’s decision rests in the same logic followed by the Supreme Court in its Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins decision in 1989, finding that discrimination based on gender stereotyping is sex discrimination. In the Baldwin case, the EEOC noted that disapproval of someone based on sexual orientation is tantamount to disapproval of that individual’s failure to conform to stereotypes or expectations about his or her gender. The Commission wrote that “[d]iscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is premised on sex-based preferences, assumptions, expectations, stereotypes, or norms.”

Make no mistake, this is an impactful landmark decision that, absent explicit protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual employees, will bring aggrieved employees one step closer to relief.   Congress can strengthen Title VII and help root out discrimination against LGBT persons in the workplace by amending Title VII to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected classes.

If you’re an employee who has suffered from a termination, demotion, harassment, hostile work environment, or some other adverse action based on your sexual orientation, you should speak with an attorney about your situation.  Employers:  dust off your handbooks and add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

~ The Noble Law Firm is a boutique Labor and Employment Law Firm in Chapel Hill, NC.  Founded in 2009, The Noble Law Firm provides forward-thinking trusted employment law counsel and assertive representation on key employment issues to individuals experiencing problems in their employment relationship and companies wishing to execute “best practices” to improve employment relations and minimize litigation exposure.

Advertisements

North Carolina drivers often break the “move over” law

Many North Carolina residents may be aware that in 2002 our state passed a law that required vehicles to move over or reduce their speed if there is an emergency vehicle near them. That law was meant to safeguard accident victims, emergency crews and law enforcement officers who might be present at the scene of an accident. Sadly, as recent reports state, many drivers in the state are unaware of this law.

One example of such an incident occurred recently when a state trooper’s car was hit by another driver. According to reports, the incident happened when the trooper was investigating a car accident on U.S. Highway 70. A 22-year-old driver reportedly crashed into the trooper’s car. Stemming from this incident, and other similar cases, the North Carolina Highway Patrol has stepped up its efforts to apprehend those drivers who break the “move over” law. The fine for that violation is $250.

In addition to the safety of emergency workers and law enforcement officers, the “move over” law is also useful for the passengers of the vehicle at the site of the accident. While it is true that emergency workers and law enforcement officers may be able to obtain workers’ compensation, the same rule does not apply to the general public in the event of an accident like this. For such people, the only option may be to seek compensation by means of a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.

However, claiming compensation is a legal issue and it may be a complicated task for many people, especially when that person is injured because of the accident. Therefore, car accident victims, or their loved ones, oftentimes get more information about how personal injury claims need to be filed.

Source: WNCN.com, “NC drivers continue to violate ‘move over’ law,” June 30, 2015

This post was authored by The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A. in Cary, North Carolina ~  Dependable & Aggressive Lawyers Serving All Of North Carolina.
Since 1994, injury victims in the Raleigh area have been able to count on The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A. to pursue the compensation and benefits they deserve in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.  Whether you were injured in a car accident, on-the-job accident, dog bite, or as a result of a defective product, they will go to bat for the outcome you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney from their firm, please call  919-899-9852 or toll free at 877-320-1851. Their firm has been given the highest ratings for their legal skills and ethics, including being named a Super Lawyer, one of the Best Lawyers in America and one of the top trial lawyers in North Carolina.