Title VII & Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Trends in Litigation & Legislation

(2244 Ratings)

Produced on: June 22, 2017

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 90 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

For many decades federal courts consistently held that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of sex” did not cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. These interpretations often relied on the limited legislative history regarding the inclusion of “sex” in Title VII, or Congress’s subsequent failure to amend Title VII to explicitly prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. Lower courts long felt constrained by this precedent, but over the last twenty years, district courts have begun to revisit the question. Some courts have used a “sex stereotyping” analysis to broaden the protection of Title VII, while other courts and the EEOC have moved in the direction of simply interpreting the term “sex” to include sexual orientation. These interpretations seemed to gain momentum in 2015, when the Supreme Court recognized the fundamental right to marry for same-sex couples in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The Second, Seventh and Eleventh Circuit Courts are currently addressing sexual orientation discrimination, and many legal scholars believe that federal law is on the verge of “catching up” to the law in dozens of states, which explicitly recognize the rights of LGBTQ people to protection from employment discrimination.

This program, taught by Geoff Mort, Of Counsel at Kraus & Zuchlewski, Michelman & Robinson Partner Christopher D’Angelo, and Ria Tabacco Mar from the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, will cover the various state and federal approaches, how to litigate these kinds of claims, and predictions for the future.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand the current landscape of federal case law regarding employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
  2. Examine the rationales for, and responses to, decisions finding that Title VII affords no protection to lesbians and gay men in employment
  3. Survey state statutes that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination

  4. Review the Second, Seventh and Eleventh Circuit cases that may change the direction of federal law regarding sexual orientation discrimination
  5. Assess the future safeguards against sexual orientation discrimination, if any
  6. Address “best practices” for employers in a rapidly changing legal environment
  7. Discuss claims of sexual orientation discrimination in some state courts and probably in at least some federal circuit courts, including best practices during intake 


Christopher D'Angelo

Michelman & Robinson, LLP

Chris D’Angelo is a Partner at Michelman & Robinson, LLP and has been practicing labor and employment law his entire career. He began his career at Finley Kumble in New York City, spent eight years at Townley & Updike, and was a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP from January 1999 until he joined Vandenberg & Feliu in September 2004. He has been with Michelman since May 2016.  

Mr. D’Angelo represents management clients in all aspects of employment law (discrimination, wage and hour, leave laws, RIF’s and plant closings, restrictive covenants, and employment agreements and non-compete agreements), as well as labor-management relations. Mr. D’Angelo also represents executives, negotiating employment agreements, executive compensation agreements, and severance agreements, and advises clients with respect to their rights and obligations regarding restrictive covenants.

Mr. D’Angelo has published articles and chapters in periodicals and employment law treatises, including the Bloomberg BNA publication Covenants Not To Compete: A Fifty State Survey (2015 through 2017), as well as client bulletins regarding newsworthy developments. He has lectured extensively on employment law issues for clients, PLI and numerous professional and Bar associations, and has been trained as a mediator, serving on the pro bono mediation panel for the Southern District of New York since 1999; the AAA Commercial Mediation Panel since 2014; and the Westchester County Supreme Court Mediation Panel since 2013. Mr. D’Angelo also served as a Storm Sandy Mediator for the AAA in 2013.  

Mr. D’Angelo is active in community and professional affairs, serving as a Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Providence Rest Nursing Home in Bronx, New York, as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Business at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, as a member of the Board of Governors of Pelham Country Club in Pelham, New York from 2010 to 2017, and as a member of the Mediation Advisory Committee for the Southern District Mediation Program. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the EEO Committee of the NYSBA’s Labor and Employment Law section. He has been named a NY SuperLawyer since 2008, and a Best Lawyer for 2016 and 2017.

Mr. D’Angelo is a 1981 graduate of Villanova University, magna cum laude, and Fordham University School of Law, 1984.

Ria Tabacco Mar

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Ria Tabacco Mar is a staff attorney with the national ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Project.  Her litigation docket covers a wide range of issues affecting the equal rights of LGBT people, including employment discrimination and the use of religion to discriminate. In 2016, Ria was named one of the “Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40” by the National LGBT Bar Association.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Ria served as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF), where she participated regularly as amicus curiae on cases involving marriage equality and was a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union.  Ria served as a law clerk to Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and to Judge Julia Smith Gibbons of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  She also worked as a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.  Ria graduated from New York University School of Law and Harvard College.

Geoffrey A. Mort

Kraus & Zuchlewski LLP

Geoffrey Mort has extensive experience in federal court litigation of employment discrimination lawsuits. He previously served as an Assistant Circuit Executive for the U.S. Second Circuit Courts and as a litigator in the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office. During his tenure as a government lawyer, Mr. Mort represented numerous New York City Commissioners and agencies in a wide variety of employment law and civil rights matters. He has litigated cases in both federal and state court and before a number of government administrative agencies, and has handled arbitrations at the New York Stock Exchange and American Arbitration Association.

Mr. Mort is active in the New York State Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law, where he is co-chair of the Workplace Rights and Responsibilities Committee and a member of the section’s Executive Committee, and the National Employment Lawyers Association, where he is co-chair of its New York chapter’s Gender Discrimination Committee. He also belongs to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where he has served on several committees, and the American Bar Association.

Mr. Mort is a frequent speaker at bar association conferences on a wide range of topics related to employment law. He is also a regular contributor to the New York Law Journal’s “Outside Counsel” column and to the Labor and Employment Law Journal.

Mr. Mort graduated from the University of Denver, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School, at which he was Commentaries Editor of the Law Review. He also completed the litigation training program at NITA, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. In 2014, Mr. Mort was elected as a fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.


Jack Y.

excellent speakers--amazing faculty

Lori F.

very organized and informative

Joanna L.

Really loved the female instructor, Ria!

Odessa M.

Moderator was very good.

Edward H.

Excellent speakers, excellent presentation.

Amy F.

Really informative!

William J.

Overall, an excellent presentation.

Mattie A.


Suzanne K.

This was a great panel! This was my favorite CLE so far. I loved all the background at the beginning to tee up the most recent case law, and then the discussion at the end about possible Supreme Court decisions was great! Great panelists and super interesting and relevant topic.

Jeanne C.

Special kudos to Ms Mar for setting up the background, her facility with the material, and especially to me… her tempo. Also, she clearly has no fear of the camera.

Stuart J.

Very practical and useable for legal arguments on this area of the law.

Kim G.

Very interesting topic

Virginia J.

Panel was great. Different perspectives/practice areas really added to the course substance.

Gregory L.

Good presentation.

Donald B.


Carl L.

The interactions among panel members were impressive

James M.

An excellent update.

Pauletta C.

-excellent discussion

Rudy M.

Clear and concise

Simon Z.

Excellent course in every respect.

Ron V.

Interesting analysis of recent Title VII decisions.


excellent presentation and oganization

Donald B.

Very thorough analytical presentations by all three participants on the present state of the law.

Frank K.

timely topic

R John S.

Exceptional collaborative learning format, presentation, questions and answers etc.

Laura M.

Excellent faculty - knowledgeable and well-spoken about the topic.

Barbara B.


Owen F.

This was a fantastic and exhaustive program. I was extremely impressed by the presenters' depth of knowledge, and their dialogue helped me to grasp the law in this area very well.

Ian B.

Good stuff

Eric W.


Elizabeth J.

Very interesting and well presented.

Kevin B.

Excellent course. Short, sweet, and to the point.

Frederick M.


Judy S.

Really good

Melvin M.

Best program I have viewed

Brian N.

great multi-expert presentation

Roger Z.

Outstanding job by all three!

Steven M.

A very good presentation, well-organized with each instructor's material flowing naturally from the others', and with detailed, uptodate information on trends, issues and splits.

Ann K.

Good analysis and enjoyed the discussions among the three lawyers.

Walter P.

Tough subject nicely analyzed.

Edward F.

Good background information for a novice in this field. I think that I have a grasp of the current state of the law in this area.

Stephen T.

Excellent coverage of an interesting area of evolving law!!

Caroline B.

Great presentation, especially the EEOC lawyer

James B.

wonderful presentation

Charles S.


Charis O.

Great overview with comprehensive updates

Arun R.

Ria Mar was great!

Julia S.

Wonderful course. In particular, Ria Tabacco Mar was excellent.

Susan M. B.

Excellent presentation. Very interesting topic. Great presenters. Well-organized.

Deborah R.


Lori R.

nice presentation

sonia C.

great speakers. ease of use.

Vincent O.


Charles K.

Very informative

Mark C.


James S.


Jill S.

The speakers were very good -- especially the ACLU attorney.

Joyce S.

Excellent presentation - sharp attorneys

Augustin D.

It wasn't clear to me if the 6.4 Million Dollars recovered by the EEOC for LGBT plaintiffs had an impact because of the number of defendants affected or the size of the awards. Otherwise the rest was pretty clear

Laura D.

This was thorough and engaging. Excellent.

Gail L.

By far the most comprehensive treatment of this topic I have seen, and very timely. It would be really nice if this same panel could provide an update to this presentation after the 2017-18 SCOTUS session.

Merry B.

Very on point with current discrimination issues.

Mary E.

Thank you.

Harold L.

Good presentation

Pamela M.


Michele J.

Extremely helpful presentation of the cases and arguments and assessment of what employers should do.

Rachel C.

Such a great discussion. I learned a lot and really appreciated hearing all three view points.

Denine C.

Excellent and very knowledgeable speakers.

Natalia M.

The website was easy to use. I am very satisfied. Thank you.

Anne Marie D.

Well done. Enjoyed the multi-speaker/panel style discussion.

L. Obii A.


John M.

Did not know you could steriotyping to make a claim for an LBGTQ client, clever lawyering.

Rommel M.


Martha A.

Very Good!

michael a.

very informative' and quite useful.

Keith M.

Interesting topic ; explained well

Josh B.

Very knowledgeable. Thanks.

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$ 89 Constitutional Law, Litigation, Labor & Employment Law, and Public Interest Law In Stock


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