Professor Steve Nickles quoted regarding federal court ruling on LGBTQ workplace discrimination

Photo of Wake Forest Law Professor Steve Nickles

Steve Nickles is recognized across the country as an outstanding scholar and teacher in the fields of business, commercial, and debtor-creditor law. He is the coauthor of several casebooks and textbooks on these subjects and of a three-volume treatise on bankruptcy.

Professor Steve Nickles is quoted in the following story, “Federal court rules against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace,” published by The Daily Tar Heel on April 4, 2017.

An excerpt follows:

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates federal law — marking a first federal ruling on LGBTQ discrimination.

Tuesday’s decision said such discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This section of the law, also called the Equal Employment Opportunity section, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion. The court interpreted discrimination based on sex to include sexual orientation.

Chris Brook, legal director of the N.C. ACLU, said this type of discrimination is part of sex stereotyping: the idea that men and women should act a certain way based on their gender.

“Employers who would choose to fire someone because they’re gay are saying that men — real men — are only in relationships with women,” he said. “Real women are only in relationships with men.”

Steve Nickles, a law professor at Wake Forest University, said there is precedent against sex stereotyping.

“Sex is not just gender,” he said. “The Supreme Court, years ago, said that (sex discrimination) includes discrimination against somebody because they don’t conform to a gender stereotype.”