Allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex.
The ruling acknowledged that sexual orientation isn't listed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as a type of discrimination prohibited by law. Instead, the commission concluded that sexual orientation-based discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. The two are connected because discrimination based on sexual orientation "necessarily entails treating an employee less favourably because of the employee's sex". Basically, discrimination based on sex is inherently present when an employee is discriminated on because of their sexual orientation.
This is a fantastic step forward for lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers and comes three years after the same commission extended protection to transgender employees under the same act. Unfortunately, these rights are only guaranteed to federal employees, though the courts have historically deferred to EEOC rulings when presented with a similar case.
Freedom to Work leader Tico Almeida celebrated the ruling, and encouraged any LGBT worker who experiences workplace discrimination to go through the courts. By doing so, the ruling will be codified in all 50 states. Chat Griffin, the President of the Human Rights Campaign highlighted the importance for a federal law explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.