Discrimination charges by US Circuit Courts
The US Circuit Court of Appeals are divided in holding whether Title VII covers discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Only the Second Circuit (covering Vermont, New York, and Connecticut) and the Seventh Circuit (covering Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin) have affirmed that Title VII covers discrimination based on sexual orientation. The remaining circuits have ruled that sexual orientation is not sex discrimination under Title VII. For gender identity, the courts are more divided. Four circuits (1st, 6th, 9th, 11th) have ruled that gender identity discrimination is sex discrimination and covered under Title VII. The Seventh and Tenth Circuits have disagreed, and ruled that Title VII does not cover gender identity discrimination. Five circuits (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th) have yet to rule on the question.
We were interested in how charge rates differed based on court holding. For sexual orientation, charge rates were higher within circuit courts that held that Title VII covered sexual orientation discrimination, at 91 per 100,000 LGBT individuals in the population vs. 76 per 100,000 LGBT individuals in the population. For gender identity, the charge rate was slightly higher in circuits that ruled that Title VII covers gender identity discrimination, at 19 per 100,000 LGBT individuals in the population vs. 16 per 100,000 LGBT individuals in the population.
For more information on relevant case law, please visit the Movement Advancement Project.