Monday, August 31, 2009

Jury to Decide Whether Law Protects Gay Man from Workplace Harassment

On Friday, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a gay man claiming that he was harassed at work based on sexual stereotyping may have a jury decide whether the harassment was because of his gender.

Federal law protects workers from discrimination on the basis of gender stereotypes, but it does not currently provide express protection based on sexual orientation.

This case is important because it recognizes that gay workers can be protected by federal law too, in that harassment of gay and straight workers is prohibited if the harassment is based on stereotypes of how they should act or look based on their gender.

"There is no basis in the statutory or case law to support the notion that an effeminate heterosexual man can bring a gender stereotyping claim while an effeminate homosexual man may not," wrote 3rd Circuit Judge Thomas M. Hardiman.

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