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Sexual orientation discrimination may be headed to U.S. Supreme Court

Odd, bizarre, contradictory, based on gossamer-thin distinctions—all these words have been used to describe the state of the law about employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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Religious rights trump transgender rights

On August 18, 2016, a U.S. District Court in Michigan ruled that religious rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) trump transgender rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC v. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., 2016 WL 4396083 (E.D. Mich., August 18, 2016).

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Historic settlement of sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it had settled one of its first lawsuits alleging sexual orientation discrimination. The settlement—in the form of a consent decree—requires Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems (IFCO), to pay $202,200 in addition to a number of nonmonetary requirements. This landmark decree comes less than a year after the EEOC first concluded that discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation amounted to sex discrimination.

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EEOC brings sexual orientation claims under umbrella of Title VII

In a recent decision about an appeal from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) left no question it views sexual orientation discrimination as falling within the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC stated its intent to treat all sexual orientation discrimination as sex discrimination, actionable under Title VII.

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DOL redefinition of “spouse” blocked by Texas federal court

On February 25, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor announced an important change in the definition of spouse under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The new rule was to take effective on March 27, 2015. But on March 26, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas issued a temporary restraining order putting the kibosh on the rule change.

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