Fifth Circuit Holds That Title VII Does Not Prohibit Sexual Orientation Discrimination


Recognizing that other federal circuit courts have found Title VII’s prohibition on “sex discrimination” to encompass sexual orientation discrimination, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit nonetheless reiterated its longstanding position that “Title VII in plain terms does not cover ‘sexual orientation.’”

Thus, in O’Daniel v. Industrial Service Solutions, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim that she was fired in retaliation for her opposition to discrimination on the basis of her heterosexual orientation. We note that the U.S. Supreme Court has recently agreed to hear three other cases in which circuit courts have split on this issue, and will therefore resolve the question of whether sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited by Title VII.