As California residents may know, a ruling made recently by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission addresses sexual discrimination against transgender and homosexual individuals. In its ruling, the EEOC states that sex discrimination against stereotyped sex roles are prohibited by federal law, and such behavior could result in a discrimination lawsuit against the employer.

The case considered by the agency involved an air traffic control employee who believed he was passed over for promotion due to his sexual orientation. The Federal Aviation Administration dismissed the employee’s complaint, saying sexual orientation did not fall within the guidelines of the 1964 Equal Opportunity Employment Act.

When federal employees are involved, the case first goes to the agency where the individual works and if left unresolved, the employee may file an appeal with the EEOC. On appeal, the FAA’s decision was reversed by the EEOC, which said the 1964 law applied. Although attempts have been made to pass legislation that prohibits discrimination against homosexual and transgender individuals, no laws have been passed to this effect. This EEOC ruling, however, could be heard by the Supreme Court if a sufficient number of courts do not accept the ruling.

This ruling by the EEOC may have a dramatic effect on a large number of employers throughout the country. In addition, it may impact education, housing or other areas that come under federal law. Because this case involved a private sector employee, the ruling by the agency may also affect non-federal jobs.

If an individual believes that they have suffered sexual orientation discrimination, they might find it beneficial to consult with an attorney about the situation. After the attorney reviews the case, he or she may help the individual notify the EEOC and file a suit against the employer.