The EEOC is on a mission to expand the scope of Title VII to prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation, and that mission has been accomplished (for now) in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Writing for the Court on Friday, November 4, 2016, Judge Cathy Bissoon denied an employer’s Motion to Dismiss a former employee’s claim for sexual orientation discrimination under Title VII and effectively expanded the scope of Title VII to an area not before covered by Federal Courts within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. See U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Scott Medical Health Center, P.C., Case No. 16-CV-225 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 7, 2016) (J. Bissoon) (“Because this Court concludes that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a subset of sexual stereotyping and thus covered by Title VII’s prohibitions on discrimination ‘because of sex,’ Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the EEOC’s Complaint fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted will be denied.”).
On Thursday, October 27th Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law legislation that expands the scope of the city’s prevailing wage ordinance to encompass service employees at universities, hospitals and other businesses that receive government funds. The legislations, which was unanimously approved by the Philadelphia City Council, goes into effect immediately. Philadelphia’s prevailing wage ordinance was first passed in the 1950s, but in recent years has been expanded to cover more workers in the city. In substance, the ordinance requires employers to pay employees in the city covered by the ordinance a prevailing wage which, as the city explains, “is a rate of pay determined by the U.S. Department of Labor based upon the particular geographic area for a given class of labor and type of project.” A prevailing wage, as defined by the law, is typically higher than the wages that an employer would otherwise pay and, in some instances, is tied to wage rates negotiated by unions. Both before and after the expansion of the ordinance was signed into law, Mayor Kenney and members of City Council issued statements making it clear that the change to the ordinance was intended to raise the wages for thousands of people working in Philadelphia.