CLBB Faculty Member Nancy Gertner‘s decision on a 1999 federal lawsuit was recently cited by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a ruling against the Federal Aviation Administration. The ruling held that an air traffic controller, who is accusing the FAA of discrimination based on his sexual orientation, could pursue a complaint under Title VII, which bars discrimination on the basis of factors including race, color, religion, sex, and origin. The ruling stated, “We conclude that sexual orientation is inherently a ‘sex-based consideration,’ and an allegation of discrimination based on sexual orientation is necessarily an allegation of sex discrimination under Title VII.” This ruling took a decision by Judge Gertner as precedent, where in 2002, she denied Postal Service’s bid to throw out a lawsuit on the grounds that Title VII did not explicitly mention sexual orientation. She wrote:
In fact, stereotypes about homosexuality are directly related to our stereotypes about the proper roles of men and women. The harasser may discriminate against an openly gay co-worker, or a co-worker that he perceives to be gay, whether effeminate or not, because he thinks, ‘real’ men should date women, and not other men.
Read the full piece from The Boston Globe, “Federal Commission Cites Mass. Lawsuit in Sexual Orientation Case“, by Travis Andersen, published July 21, 2015.