Impact of Same-Sex Harassment and Gender-Role Stereotypes on Title VII Protection for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Employees

  • Robyn A. Berkley
  • Alisa H. Watt

When victimized in the workplace, gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) employees often find themselves without recourse as Title VII does not recognize sexual orientation to be a protected class. We suggest that recent court decisions that have expanded Title VII to protect individuals from discrimination based upon violations of gender norms can be used to provide a basis for protection of GLB individuals under this statute. Using a review of the role of gender norms in the workplace as well as an analysis of recent court decisions and the Congressional debates on the Federal Marriage Amendment as well as the wording of the Defense of Marriage Act [Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Pub. L. 104-199, Stat. 2419 (September 21, 1996)], this paper provides the theoretical background and conceptual argument (but does not attempt to make the legal argument) to suggest that same-sex harassment and discrimination are considered violations of societal gender norms and should therefore be protected under the expanded coverage of Title VII.


same-sex harassment gender-role stereotypes glb employees 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lally School of Management and TechnologyRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.Lally School of Management and TechnologyRensselaer Polytechnic Institute110 8th Street, TroyUSA

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