The Civil Rights Act's protections against discrimination 'on the basis of sex' do not protect gay and lesbian workers who face discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, the Eleven Circuit ruled on Friday.
That wouldn't be a terribly noteworthy outcome, if this were still the 1970s, or even the early 2000s. During those periods of civil rights litigation, courts routinely refused to extend employment protections to gay, lesbian, and transgender employees. But in recent years, the consensus has started to shift. The EEOC has interpreted the Civil Rights Act to protect gay workers, for example, and the Eleventh itself has extended protections to transgender employees.
But those earlier cases still stand, the Eleventh ruled, and they still bind the court's interpretation of civil rights laws today.