A second US appeals circuit rules that Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in employment

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in employment, in Zarda v. Altitude Express.

Out Leadership partnered with the law firm Quinn Emanuel and Lambda Legal, Freedom for All Americans, and the Human Rights campaign to support the business amicus brief to the Second Circuit in the case. That brief marked the first time major corporations banded together to support an interpretation of Title VII as covering sexual orientation.

By ruling for the plaintiff,  the Second Circuit rejected arguments advanced by the Justice Department last July, in a brief the U.S. government was not required to file.

Two U.S. Court of Appeals courts – the Second and the Seventh – have now ruled in favor of an interpretation of Title VII as inclusive of sexual orientation. Because other federal appellate courts remain divided, the Zarda case could eventually come before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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