Expanding the Reach of Title VII: Seventh Circuit Recognizes Sexual Orientation as a Protected Class

April 17, 2017

In a shift from its earlier interpretations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overruled its prior precedent and held in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, No. 15-1720, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5839 (7th Cir Apr. 4, 2017) (en banc) that Title VII of the Civil Rights of Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation.  The decision by the Seventh Circuit is the first federal appellate court decision to come to this conclusion, and may influence other federal courts of appeals, including New York’s Second Circuit.  The decision comports with the EEOC’s view—over the last several years, the EEOC has taken the position that Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

To continue reading our alert on this topic, please click here.