On Nov. 4, a judge in Pennsylvania ruled that an anti-discrimination case could proceed. The rationale was that anti-gay discrimination was considered discrimination based on sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took action against a health care facility based on the actions of one employee. That person reportedly used several offensive slurs to describe an individual who worked under his supervision.
These comments were allegedly made on a weekly basis, which led the EEOC to conclude that the man was working in a hostile workplace. In addition to the alleged discrimination in this case, that supervisor is also under investigation for harassing female workers. In the case involving harassment against the male employee, the EEOC argues that harassing someone for being a homosexual is sex stereotyping.
Therefore, based on a previous Supreme Court ruling, it is prohibited under Title VII. Essentially, the man was being harassed simply because a colleague believed that another person did not fit into accepted conventions of what it was to be a man. The court also found that discriminating based on the race of an employee’s partner is illegal, which means it should reasonably be illegal to discriminate against an employee for the sex of his or her partner.
Those who believe that they are subject to a hostile work environment may wish to talk to an attorney to see what recourse exists. Legal counsel may be able to establish that an employer or another colleague engaged in discrimination that was not remedied by the employer. Evidence may include video recordings of abusive events taking place or saved emails or other communications that involved illegal actions taken against an employee. .