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Employment Law Alert – Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Prohibited Under Title VII

April 27, 2017

Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Prohibited Under Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers who are subject to the Act to discriminate on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the agency charged with interpreting and enforcing Title VII, already interprets Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination as extending to gender identity and sexual orientation, although not explicitly mentioned in Title VII. Now courts too have begun to grapple with whether they interpret sexual orientation discrimination as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII. At least according to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin), the law should be read to extend additional protections. The case involved a woman who is openly gay and believed she was prevented from receiving a full-time job because of her sexual orientation. The Court expanded the definition of sex discrimination by finding that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination protected by federal law. While the Seventh Circuit is the first to apply this interpretation of sex discrimination to Title VII, employers located in the Fourth Circuit (including Maryland, D.C. and Virginia) should consider this decision and the EEOC’s position on Title VII sex discrimination when making employment decisions. In addition, many employees in Maryland and D.C. are already protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation under state laws which explicitly prohibit such practices.

Baltimore City Minimum Wage Will Not Increase to $15/Hr

Despite the Baltimore City Council approving a phased-in minimum wage increase of $15/hour by 2022, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh vetoed the legislation.  While City Council had the option to override the veto, it was unable to get enough signatures to move forward.  As a result, Baltimore City’s minimum wage will increase, in accordance with Maryland state legislation, to $9.25/hour on July 1, 2017 and $10.10/hour on July 1, 2018.

The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact a member of the Shulman Rogers Employment and Labor Law Group or the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work.

Contact

Gregory D. Grant
301-230-6578

Meredith “Merry” Campbell
301-255-0550

John D. Clifford
301-230-5216

Joy C. Einstein
301-945-9250