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Judge rules anti-gay harassment is sex discrimination

California residents may be interested to learn about a workplace discrimination lawsuit that was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a homosexual man. On Nov. 4, a federal judge in Pennsylvania made the decision to allow the suit to proceed to trial. According to the judge, the plaintiff sufficiently proved that the defendant had violated sex discrimination protections afforded by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The EEOC alleged that the employee was forced to endure a hostile work environment while he was employed at a health care facility. A supervisor there regularly harassed the plaintiff by calling him names like "fag" and "queer". The supervisor also began making comments about the plaintiff's sex life after he found out that the plaintiff had a male partner. Several female employees at the health center have filed their own separate sexual harassment claims against the same supervisor.

The EEOC was able to prove that the supervisor's behavior violated Title VII by arguing that discrimination based on sexual orientation qualifies as sex discrimination. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989 found that expecting an employee to conform to gender norms like heterosexuality is a form of workplace sex discrimination.

People who have been similarly discriminated against for their sexual orientation may be able to file a claim against their employer. If they were fired or forced to quit, damages could include lost wages. An attorney may be able to help an employee to pursue the maximum compensation for the workplace discrimination that has taken place.

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