The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed today two lawsuits contending that employers’ alleged discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation violates the Title VII ban on sex discrimination. One suit was filed on behalf of a gay call center employee in Pennsylvania, and the other was filed on behalf of a lesbian forklift operator in Maryland.

Here is the EEOC’s press release on the two lawsuits.

Here is my discussion, based on a “friend of the court” brief that the EEOC filed earlier this year, of why the EEOC believes that Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. At this point, I don’t have anything to add to what I said in January.

These will be very important cases to watch, along with the EEOC’s gender-identity discrimination lawsuit (also based on Title VII) against a funeral home chain in the Detroit area. According to EEOC General Counsel David Lopez, the transgender case in Detroit is not going to settle, so we should get the benefit of an actual court ruling on the EEOC’s proposed expansion of the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII into these new frontiers.

Thanks to Law360 for the alert.