Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Inc., No. 16-748 (2d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants under the Americans with Disabilities Education Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.; and state and local law. Plaintiff alleged that he was discriminated against at his workplace due to, inter alia, his HIV‐positive status and his failure to conform to gender stereotypes. The district court dismissed the federal claims for failure to state a claim and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state and local claims. The district court concluded that Simonton v. Runyon and Dawson v. Bumble & Bumble, holding that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, precluded plaintiff's Title VII claim. The court concluded that it lacked power to reconsider Simonton and Dawson. The court concluded, however, that the district court erred by determining that plaintiff failed to plausibly allege a Title VII claim based on the gender stereotyping theory of sex discrimination articulated in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. In this case, plaintiff's complaint identified multiple instances of gender stereotyping discrimination. The court clarified that gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals do not have less protection under Price Waterhouse against traditional gender stereotype discrimination than do heterosexual individuals. Simonton and Dawson merely held that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual, standing alone, does not constitute nonconformity with a gender stereotype that can give rise to a cognizable gender stereotyping claim. Accordingly, the court reversed the dismissal of the Title VII claim and remanded. The court affirmed in all other respects.