Law Essay


A Question of Ethics—Retaliation by Employers.

Shane Dawson, a male homosexual, worked for Entek International. Some of Dawson’s co-workers, including his supervisor, made derogatory comments about his sexual orientation. Dawson’s work deteriorated. He filed a complaint with Entek’s human resources department. Two days later, he was fired. State law made it unlawful for an employer to dis-criminate against an individual based on sexual orientation. [ Dawson v. Entek International, 630 F.3d 928 (9th Cir. 2011)] (See Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.) Please answer these questions:

1. Could Dawson establish a claim for retaliation? Explain

2. Should homosexuals be protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?

3. Discuss the arguments for and against amending federal law to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation?

INSTRUCTIONS: – a bibliography of at least 5 citations must be provided on a separate page submitted with the assignment (textbook must be one of the citations, WITH PAGE NUMBER INCLUDED)

The textbook is: Cengage Advantage Books: Business Law Today: The Essentials: Text and Summarized Cases (11th Edition)

*Do not use Wikipedia for legal references

*Please note: Personal, opinion-based discussions and those that read like a conversation with a peer using “I”, “you”, and “we” are NOT acceptable.

*Write using the third person. *References may be footnoted – at the bottom of the page using numbers. DO NOT LIST just webpage addresses. The title of what is being referenced must be shown

Please make sure you have this book
Cengage Advantage Books: Business Law Today: The Essentials: Text and Summarized Cases (11th Edition) Student Edition textbook


A Question of Ethics—Retaliation by Employers

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 consists of 11 Titles, all of which help in ensuring that all Americans receive equal treatment regardless of race or ethnicity. Title VII of the Act declares it unlawful for employers or labor unions to discriminate employees or job applicants based on religion, race, sex, color, national origin or gender (Blumrosen 397). Individuals that fall under any of the categories above are referred to as the protected class (Miller and Jentz 561). Despite the fact that the rights of homosexuals have not been explicitly defined in the constitution, some states in the United States of America such as Oregon have extended the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to include discrimination against employees or job applicants based on their sexual orientation.


 Entek International is an Oregon-based high-tech manufacturing company. In Dawson v. Entek International, the issue of how Oregon law can be applied to guard against unlawful employment practice arose. According to Oregon law, discriminating against employees based on sex, national origin, age, color, marital status, religion, race or sexual orientation is an unlawful employment practice (Levine and Leonard 703). Since the state has a law that protects homosexuals, the case can, therefore, be treated as one that is closely related to the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Dawson v. Entek International’s case, Shane Dawson falls under the protected class because he has been discriminated against by his co-workers and supervisors for being a male homosexual. Furthermore, he was fired only two days after filing an employment discrimination complaint against the company.

Before filing a claim for retaliation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires that in order to establish a prima facie, the plaintiff has to show participation of an employee in a protected activity, adverse actions that are taken by the employer against the employee and a clear causal connection between the first two elements (Essary and Friedman 115). In Dawson v. Entek International, all three elements are present. First, Dawson has been discriminated against based on his sexual orientation, meaning that he falls under the protected class. Secondly, Dawson is fired after filing a complaint with the department of human resources, and adverse action by the employer. Lastly, it is clear that the two elements are connected. Dawson was fired after filing the complaint against his experience of discrimination at Entek International. Based on these findings, Dawson has grounds for establishing a claim for retaliation.

I believe that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act should protect homosexuals as well. The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens are just as important and as advanced as those of any other protected class rights. On June 26, 2003, same-sex sexual activity and marriages between same-sex couples were legalized nationwide (Adam 262). Despite the legalization, it was not until 2015 when all the states fully recognized marriage between same-sex couples following a landmark Supreme Court decision. Considering that the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 when LGBT rights were neither recognized nor legalized, I hold the opinion that it is about time that the Court amended the Act, specifically Title VII, to incorporate LGBT rights.

In the absence of protection against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, homosexuals such as Shane Dawson live in fear of what people think of them everywhere they are employed. This situation has even made it difficult for such people to keep jobs for a long period as compared to their straight counterparts. Including their rights in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act will not water down the relevance of the law. Rather, it will serve to draw attention to the need to safeguard the rights of a section of the population whose discrimination-related problems have been neglected for the longest time in the country’s history. After all, LGBTs are also American citizens and they ought to be treated as such.

It is evident that many American citizens who do not support the recognition and legalization of LGBT rights would not support an amendment to Title VII of the Act. Such citizens have greatly contributed to the lack of progress in Congress on the matter. However, proposed legislation such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and organizations like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), represent lingering hope in the ongoing efforts towards the minimization of the level of suffering among LGBT members in the workplace, particularly through proposed interpretations that may help make a compelling case for the amendment.

Amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will ensure that the LGBT population is treated equally, like the rest of the American population. It would be the first of several other amendments that ought to address LGBT rights as well. Employee discrimination against homosexuals such as Dawson is a major problem in the contemporary American workplace. It is an issue that ought to be treated with a sense of urgency. The only way to fight this kind of discrimination is by amending Title VII to include employee discrimination based on sexual orientation and to pass ENDA.

Works Cited

Adam, Barry D. “The Defense of Marriage Act and American exceptionalism: The” Gay Marriage” Panic in the United States.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 12.2 (2003): 259-276. Print.

Blumrosen, Ruth G. “Wage Discrimination, Job Segregation, and the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” U. Mich. JL Reform 12 (1978): 397. Print.

Essary, Melissa A., and Friedman, Terence. “Retaliation Claims Under Title VII, the ADEA, and the ADA: Untouchable Employees, Uncertain Employers, Unresolved Courts.” Missouri Law Review, 63 (1998): 115-127. Print.

Levine, Martin P. and Leonard, Robin. “Discrimination Against Lesbians in the Workforce.” Signs 9.4 (1984): 700-710. Print.

Miller, Roger L. and Jentz, Gaylord A. Cengage Advantage Books: Business Law Today: Text and Summarized Cases, 11th Edition. New York: Cengage Learning, 2016. Print.

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