First settlement reached for EEOC case alleging sexual-orientation discrimination

Monica MaldonadoNews & EventsLeave a Comment

One of the first EEOC lawsuits alleging sexual-orientation bias settled Tuesday.

The plaintiff was a lesbian woman who worked for a Baltimore pallet company, IFCO Systems. She was fired after complaining about a supervisor who reportedly made comments about her sexual orientation and her appearance, according to a press release from the agency.

The U.S. District Court of Maryland case was brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination. Sexual orientation isn’t listed as a protected class under Title VII, but the EEOC argued that sexual-orientation discrimination amounts to sex discrimination.

Besides a payment of $182,220 to the plaintiff, the consent decree requires defendant IFCO Systems to develop an employee-training program for LGBT workplace issues. The company will also make a $20,000 donation to the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Program.

A similar case the agency brought against Scott Medical Health Center is pending. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, it alleges that a supervisor used epithets to refer to a gay employee and made offensive comments about his sexuality and sex life. Both cases were filed in March of 2016.

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