We recently settled a case with the State of Connecticut for a couple where one of the spouses was discriminated against and fired due to their sexual orientation. Our client was sexually harassed by a female supervisor, and after filing a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), was retailed against and fired on a trumped up charge of insubordination. Our client also identifies as transgender.
Fortunately, Connecticut law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as discrimination based on gender identity. However, even though the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under President Obama, took the position that federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) protects employees against sexual orientation discrimination, this is not settled law.
President Trump’s administration has taken the position that although Title VII applies to sex (gender) discrimination, this does not cover sexual orientation. Most federal appeals courts have taken this position. However, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the law covers sexual orientation. The Second Circuit (ours) is presently considering the issue.
The good news is that 76 businesses, including American Airlines, Apple, Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Microsoft and the Miami Heat have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the Justices to take the position that federal law covers sexual orientation discrimination.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, call our office at (203) 723-9610 for a free consultation, or email us directly.