Legal Blog

Telebriefs®: Is Sexual Orientation Protected Under the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

shutterstock_117276277The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) believes that sexual orientation falls within the protected classification of sex under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, in a recent case where a woman was allegedly retaliated against and denied a permanent position at Tech Community College of Indiana because of her sexual orientation, the Seventh Circuit Court decided that sexual orientation is not protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. There are other similar pending cases in the Second Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit. If these Circuit Courts take a position contrary to the Seventh Circuit’s decision, this issue may very well end up in the Supreme Court.


Now, these decisions do not mean that in states where sexual orientation is a protected classification employers are protected from this particular kind of claim. As seen in wage and hour cases, states may often have more employee-friendly laws than exist at the federal level.  As a result, employers need to be aware of their comprehensive HR processes and policies. To learn more about how to prevent these claims in the workplace, listen to this week’s Labor and Employment Telebrief here.


Also in this week’s Labor and Employment Telebrief: what to include in sexual or workplace harassment policies and how to enforce them, new developments by the EEOC to prevent religious discrimination in the workplace, and advice for hiring independent contractors.


Geared to executives with employee relations responsibilities (HR directors, supervisors, managers, business owners), Labor and Employment Telebriefs® are information-packed 30-minute briefings via the telephone. Telebriefs® provide information and insights to help executives stay current with latest workplace law developments and in front of trends so as to enable proactive policy making and management. On the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month, from 9 – 9:30 am ET, join Offit Kurman Labor & Employment Chair Howard Kurman, as he discusses developments occurring over the past two weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. The focus is squarely on the practical. Why is this event significant for employers? What are the lessons to be learned or actions taken? These twice-monthly teleconferences are an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest Labor and Employment law developments that will significantly affect you and your company.  Our guarantee: You will learn something useful, on every call! If you have any questions regarding  labor and employment issues, please contact

Howard Kurman: | 410.209.6417


Howard Kurman websiteHoward K. Kurman is an employment attorney. Mr. Kurman regularly counsels clients on all aspects of proactive employment/labor issues. He represents employers ranging in size from as small as 20 employees to those employers with geographically disparate locations consisting of over 4,000 employees. Mr. Kurman assures, through regular contact with his clients, that they promulgate and maintain the most effective employment policies that will, to the extent possible, minimize their legal exposure in today’s litigious workplace. Mr. Kurman offers advice on employee handbooks, employment agreements, and covenants not to compete as well as confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Previously, Mr. Kurman was the chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.

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