The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission voted with three votes for and two votes against the extension. Making reference to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 1964, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided that sexual orientation cannot be defined in other way than by making reference to sex.
As discrimination under question here is based on sex, the extension of federal regulations only follows logically. In 2012, one man filed an official complaint stating that his right to be employed was denied as the employer found out the candidate for the job was gay.
The statute that governs nondiscrimination laws in the U.S. has thus been modified to include the discrimination based on sexual orientation. The LGBT community cheered and acclaimed the decision of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Freedom for All Americans, an advocating organization for the extension of the statute to include discrimination based on sexual orientation states that the next step is a comprehensive law at the federal level:
“Comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people are strongly supported by Americans from all walks of life. We’ll continue working to ensure our laws at the municipal, state and federal level recognize that LGBT Americans deserve to live free from the fear of discrimination.”
Another testimony of success came from the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Right, Shannon Minter:
“This decision, which follows an earlier EEOC ruling that federal nondiscrimination laws protect transgender people, adds to the growing consensus among federal agencies and courts that existing federal laws prohibit workplace discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity”.
Nonetheless, the decision of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is one battle won. All advocates for LGBT rights agree that until the U.S. Congress follows upon the example and enacts a comprehensive law, the LGBT community will still face discrimination based on sexual orientation.
As is the case with other federal agencies, the decision taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn’t legally bind federal courts.
Yet, as practice has shown, often federal courts resort to the decisions of federal agencies while ruling on a matter.
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