The Expansion of Title VII: Where is the Line?

02 Feb , 2022

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Joining the Second, Fifth, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits, in the summer of 2021 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held for the first time that Title VII forbids discrimination against an employee because of their association with a member of a protected class, including not just immediate family members but also more distant relatives. This novel issue has been addressed by federal appeals and district courts across the country over the last few decades in holdings that have established boundaries about how far Title VII’s protections against associational discrimination extend. But, the law is not fully settled on this issue and as the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and confront social and racial justice issues, employees have formed relationships and joined social movements both inside and outside of the workplace that are likely to shape what association based discrimination may become. As employers of all sizes nationwide continue exploring new ways to engage their employees in this unique time in history, courts will be confronted with determining the boundaries of what types of relationships and associations fall under the purview of Title VII. 

This presentation will examine the relationships that have historically been protected under Title VII, those which have not, and explore associations that may be challenged as a result of our changing society.

 

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