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EEOC: Civil Rights Act Includes LGBT Protections

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a landmark opinion, ruling that bias against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people int he workplace is a form of discrimination, thus using Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as an umbrella of protection. To date, a number of courts have ruled that Title VII, which includes "race, color, religion, sex and national origin" in its language had not not covered sexual orientation. But the EEOC concluded, "Sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination because it necessarily entails treating an employee less favorably because of the employee's sex."

The new decision from EEOC suggests that LGBT workers are already protected by the Civil Rights Act, but Idaho and a number of other states continue to be battlegrounds for LGBT rights. The Idaho Legislature remains a major roadblock for proposed Add the Words legislation, even though a number of Idaho cities, including Idaho, have enacted their own LGBT protections.

The 17-page ruling from the EEOC came from a case brought by an employee at a traffic control control at Miami (Fla.) International Airport who claimed he had been denied a promotion because he was gay.

In November, 2014, Boise Weekly first reported of a claim against the Idaho Department of Labor and its director Ken Edmunds from a candidate, vying to become the new administrator of the Idaho Human Rights Commission. The candidate, saying he had been made to "feel like I was less than a person," triggered discrimination  lawsuits in state and federal courts, alleging that the Idaho Labor Department had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Civil Rights Act.