Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which applies employers with 15 or more employees) prohibits discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sex. The law doesn’t mention sexual orientation as among the protected categories and many courts, including the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Kansas employers), have concluded that Title VII does not in fact protect employees from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. That said, courts have concluded discrimination “based on sex” includes harassment and adverse actions based on sex-stereotyping. In other words, discrimination against a woman because she does not conform to feminine or female-specific norms or stereotypes; or against a man because he does not conform to masculine or male-specific norms or stereotypes.
- 3 Strategies for Employers in Light of the EEOC’s Title VII Lawsuits Alleging Sexual Orientation Discrimination (Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP)