In a divided en banc opinion, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is covered by Title VII’s ban on gender discrimination.   Deepening a Circuit split within the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Second Circuit adopted the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit in Hively v. Ivy Tech Cmty. College of Ind., 853 F.3d 339 (7th Cir. 2017) (en banc), and held that Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination is sufficiently broad to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.   Taking a diametric view, the Eleventh Circuit had ruled that Title VII does not encompass sexual orientation discrimination.  This split among the Circuits may push the United States Supreme Court to review the application of Title VII to sexual orientation claims.  While the federal courts (and perhaps Congress) may address whether Title VII does so, many state/city laws already prohibit sexual orientation discrimination.  Since the state of federal law is uncertain, the safer course is for employers to review personnel policies and practices to limit decision-making to job-related conduct and qualifications.  For a full summary of the Second Circuit’s decision, please click here