Joining every other circuit court except D.C., the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“[W]e are bound to follow a binding precedent in this Circuit unless and until it is overruled by this court en banc or by the Supreme Court,” the three-judge panel ruled on March 10.
However, the court affirmed that other theories of sex discrimination, such as gender non-conformity and same-sex discrimination, remain actionable.
The case involved Jameka Evans, a lesbian who identified with the male gender. Evans was a guard at a Georgia hospital, where she claimed she was harassed and denied equal pay and promotion based on her sexual orientation. She later resigned and filed suit. A magistrate judged ruled that Title VII “was not intended to cover discrimination against homosexuals.” A U.S. district court then agreed with the magistrate, and the decision was appealed.
Despite the ruling, several states and municipalities have ordinances in place outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation