New York attorney general leads amicus brief in sexual orientation harassment case

By Mark Iandolo | Jul 5, 2017

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced June 27 that he has led an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, arguing that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation.

“No employee should face discrimination because of his or her sexual orientation,” Schneiderman said. “Title VII is meant to protect all Americans from discrimination based on their sex – and that includes sexual-orientation discrimination that targets people based on the gender of those with whom they have relationships. It is important to make clear that federal law – like New York state law – forbids penalizing employees for whom they love, as we continue our fight to root out discrimination no matter how it rears its ugly head.”

Signing the brief were Schneiderman, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, and Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan. The brief was filed in the Zarda v. Altitude Express case. In the case, a former skydiving instructor alleges the company fired him because he disclosed his sexual orientation to customer.

“Sexual-orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII,” the attorneys general argue. “That statute strikes broadly at all forms of disparate treatment based on an employee’s sex, including punishing an employee’s failure to conform to sex stereotypes.”

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