I posted on March 2d the blockbuster news that the EEOC had filed its first two Title VII sex discrimination lawsuits based on sexual orientation.
This was, of course, noteworthy, because Title VII prohibits discrimination based upon sex, but doesnot explicitly prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation.
The EEOC stated – and this statement is important — that “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of sex. As the federal law enforcement agency charged with interpreting and enforcing Title VII, EEOC has concluded that harassment and other discrimination because of sexual orientation is prohibited sex discrimination (emphasis added).”
The EEOC has just announced that it has filed a suit which adds a new dimension to its sexual orientation lawsuits.
It alleges that a North Carolina corporation subjected a female employee to asexually hostile work environment by permitting her to be sexually harassed by a female co-worker. “The suit charged that the harassment included inappropriate touching and sexual comments. EEOC said that although much of the offensive conduct was witnessed by a member of management, and [the employee] also reported the harassment to management several times, the company failed to promptly stop the harassment.”
An EEOC attorney explained what I call the “new dimension” of the suit: “Sexual harassment is illegal, regardless of whether the harasser is female or male, or the same or opposite gender as the victim.”
The times continue to keep changin’!