Federal Court Rules That Title VII Protections Apply to Sexual Orientation

In Boutillier v. Hartford Public Schools, No. 3:13-CV-01303-WWE (November 17, 2016), a Connecticut district court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. This decision is at odds with Second Circuit Court of Appeals precedent in Simonton v. Runyonwhere the Court held that “Title VII does not proscribe discrimination because of sexual orientation.”

As Judge Eginton explained in Boutillier, “straightforward statutory interpretation and logic dictate that sexual orientation cannot be extricated from sex; the two are necessarily intertwined.The court further reasoned that “[p]resuming that an employer has discriminated against an individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s sexual orientation, that employer has necessarily considered both the sex of the partner and the sex of the individual.”