Title VII of the Civil Rights Act specifically prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, but not sexual orientation. A teacher from Georgia is working to change that.
According to National Public Radio, Flint Dollar says he was fired from his teaching job at a Catholic school after announcing over social media his plans to marry his boyfriend. NPR’s Adam Ragusea reports that because the federal and state laws didn’t expressly prohibit this form of discrimination, Dollar had few weapons to fight with. But he’s challenging the decision based on the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.
“Enterprising lawyers have been making that argument since at least the 1990s, and federal courts have been saying ‘nice try’ just as long,” says Ragusea. However, because of some recent court decisions, there may be some hope for Dollar. In April, a federal district court allowed a case to proceed in which a man alleged he was discriminated against based on his sexual orientation, since a romantic interest in men was not something his female colleagues were penalized for, explains Ragusea.
Indeed, a recent survey found that the majority of Americans already think it’s illegal to fire or discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation.