Title VII does not specifically list marital status as the grounds for a sex discrimination lawsuit. But that doesn't mean marriage cannot play a role in Title VII sex discrimination cases.
There is a case category generally referred to as "sex-plus discrimination" that can include discrimination based on a combination of the sex of the employee/applicant, plus another factor. Thus, if an employer treats married women differently than married men, the sex treated less favorably may have a sex-plus marital-status case.
Here's how that played out in a recent 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals case.
Charles is part-owner of an adult entertainment business, Adult World. Kymberley, who was a single mother of four when she met Charles, first worked for him as a house cleaner. During that time, they developed a personal friendship, which culminated in their having sex. After that one-time incident, the two remained on good terms for a while.
Kymberley and Charles began discussing whether she could come to work at Adult World as a district manager. Charles finally agreed to hire her, although he expressed serious reservations about doing so because her commute would be about an hour and a half.
Kymberley then met with the company's controller and filled out paperwork, received the employee handbook and read that she would serve a three-month evaluation period.
She began work on Nov. 9. What happened over the next 11 days gave rise to her eventual lawsuit.
The controller said Kymberley played on her personal computer during work hours and refused to attend training in New York. Kymberley denied any of that happened. Instead, she testified that she flew to Las Vegas on Sunday, Nov. 15 and got married. Four days later, on Nov. 19, she sent Charles a text...