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Managing the Modern Workplace
V&E International Labor & Employment Resources

Cake Case Should Not Affect Employer Efforts to Eliminate Discrimination Against LGBT Employees

While the Supreme Court has not yet resolved the question of whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have previously noted in this blog that there are good legal — not to mention moral, and business, reasons — for employers to take steps to protect gay and lesbian employees and develop a culture that is welcoming to LGBT employees.

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The OFCCP Is Coming, The OFCCP Is Coming! Federal Contractors Put on Notice of Coming Audits

If your company is one of the 1,000 federal contractor establishments (including prime contractors and subcontractors) that received a corporate scheduling announcement letter (a “CSAL”) from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (the “OFCCP”), you probably already know that, as a federal contractor, your company has many employment obligations beyond those applicable to employers in general. You should also be aware that the OFCCP, in sending these CSALs — which it is not required to do — is actually giving companies some extra time to make sure their practices are up to snuff. While not every company who has received CSALs will end up being audited, these letters provide companies a golden opportunity to review and, if necessary, correct their practices before the OFCCP comes knocking.

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Will the Supreme Court Decide Whether Gays Are Protected by Title VII?

As I predicted last week, a conflict among the circuits now exists on whether gays are protected from workplace discrimination. In yesterday’s landmark opinion in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, the Seventh Circuit became the first court of appeals to find homosexuality broadly defined is included in Title VII’s protection against sex-based discrimination.

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Despite Fine Line in Cases, Discrimination Against Gays Is Often Illegal and Bad for Business

Full disclosure: I have a dog in this fight. As a gay man, I would be happy if the Supreme Court decided that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Until now, federal appellate courts have always found that Title VII does not protect employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation, including the most recent decision last week by the Eleventh Circuit in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital. However, those of us who heard the oral argument before 11 judges of the Seventh Circuit last November 30, 2016 in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College would not be surprised if a conflict soon emerged among the circuits. (There was also a vigorous dissent in Evans). The Loving v. Virginia arguments that were made in gay marriage cases appear to be resonating with judges who are considering whether sexual orientation may simply be a form of sex discrimination. In other words, if you discriminate against a gay person because he or she is attracted to someone of the same sex, you are essentially discriminating against them because they are failing to conform to a gender stereotype.

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  • 11
  • October
  • 2016

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How Well-Meaning Diversity Training Programs Can Come Back to Haunt You

Having taught restless teenagers for many years before I became a lawyer, I have always believed that there are few things as ineffective as lecturing, since only a few gifted souls can pull it off effectively. While the adult learner may be more polite than a fidgety eleventh grader, his attention span is usually not much greater when forced to sit through a dreary PowerPoint with ten bullet points per slide. At the end of the day, a CLE presentation to lawyers, an in-house training for employees, or an eleventh grade trigonometry class are pretty much the same: the best teaching in each of these situations is usually interactive and demands that the learners fully participate in the experience.

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Contributors

Thomas H. Wilson

Thomas H. Wilson Partner

Christopher V. Bacon

Christopher V. Bacon Counsel

Sean Becker

Sean Becker Partner

Stephen M. Jacobson

Stephen M. Jacobson Partner

Martin C. Luff

Martin Luff Counsel

Lawrence S. Elbaum Partner

S. Grace Ho

S. Grace Ho Counsel

Robert Sheppard

Robert Sheppard Associate