Stephanie Jane Hahn, Attorney At Law
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DOJ claims law doesn't protect LBGT workers

According to the Department of Justice, civil rights legislation does not protect workers in Indiana or anywhere in America on the basis of their sexual orientation. This is counter to a position that the EEOC has held since 2012. The EEOC believes that it is impossible to distinguish between discrimination based on sex and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The case in question involves a New York man who claims that he was terminated because he was gay. He filed a claim against his employer saying that it violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That legislation does ban discrimination because of sex. However, according to the DOJ, it only applies when someone is treated differently because of his or her gender. The government noted that Congress has not amended the law in spite of cultural changes related to how people are treated at work and in society.

The government filed its brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. While the government's assertion may be controversial to some, it remains consistent with how other courts have ruled on the matter. Proponents of the government's position say that the law can only be changed by Congress, which means that the DOJ is correct in taking action to enforce the law.

Individuals who may have been treated differently because of their sexual orientation or other protected attributes may wish to take action against their employer. As a general rule, employment laws say that companies cannot discriminate against workers based on their gender or not conforming to gender stereotypes. Therefore, an employee may have grounds for a lawsuit if those rules were violated.

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