Could I legally fire all gay workers at all of my restaurants in Georgia without Title VII violations?
Could I legally fire all women of child bearing age without Title VII violations?
2 Answers from Attorneys
While Title VII does not offer employees explicit protections from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gay persons may be able to recover for sex discrimination by demonstrating that they were terminated because they do not fit within the sexual stereotype of a male or a female (i.e., heterosexual or "straight"). More liberal judges are beginning to see this as a means of "shoe-horning" sexual orientation discrimination into Title VII's coverage. Also, some cities (e.g. Atlanta) have ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Title VII DOES protect persons based on their gender, and discrimination based on pregnancy (or the possibility thereof). If you fired all women of child bearing age, you would be guilty of sex discrimination under Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
In any event one must wonder why you would want to cull employees from your workforce based on either their sexual orientation or child bearing status. Such employees are no more and no less industrious and profitable as employees who are neither homosexual or capable of child bearing. The public disapprobation and media outrcy against your company for such acts of discrimination would be so loud it would be deafening, and it would be likely to swallow your business entirely. Even in conservative Georgia, the public would perceive such discrimination as wrong-headed.
Don't do it!
Michael A. Caldwell
I agree with Attorney Caldwell 100%. You're just buying one of not more complaints with the EEOC and/or lawsuits, and bad publicity that may drive you out of business. It's not worth the problems it may cause.