Sexual Orientation May Not Serve as Basis for Adverse Employment Action
The Sixth Circuit has joined the ranks of the Seventh and Second Circuits in finding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes prohibited sexual discrimination under Title VII. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought a Title VII action against an employer alleging he fired a transitioning, transgender employee based on gender stereotypes and also administered a discriminatory clothing allowance policy. After losing in the lower court, the EEOC’s argument carried the day with the Appellate Court holding it was entitled to bring the claim for sex discrimination on behalf of a transgender employee. The court rejected the employer’s defense under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that requiring him to comply with Title VII substantially burdened his religious practice of operating funeral homes.