Mar 5, 2018

The court found that “sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one’s sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted, making it impossible for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without taking sex into account.”

Judges have long held that Title VII covers not just the principal evils the law sought to combat but “reasonably comparable evils,” as well. Thus, it prohibits workplace discrimination based not only on gender per se but also based on employees’ non-conformance to gender norms, for example. A boss can’t fire a female employee because she refuses to wear makeup and jewelry or has a masculine look. As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit concluded in its own ruling on sexual-orientation discrimination, “all gay, lesbian and bisexual persons fail to comply with the sine qua non of gender stereotypes — that all men should form intimate relationships only with women, and all women should form intimate relationships only with men.”