Who Needs Legislators? Discrimination Against Sex Workers Is Sex Discrimination Under Title VII
34 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2020 Last revised: 24 Apr 2020
Date Written: March 21, 2020
Over the last several years, public discourse around sex work has dramatically increased. New York State and Washington, D.C. have both introduced legislation to decriminalize prostitution during the 2019 legislative sessions; the California public voted down Proposition 60 in 2016, which would have opened up egregious civil liability to adult film performers; and countless civil society organizations have recently, and publicly, committed to ending the human rights violations that those involved in the sex trade experience. Despite this attention towards legal reform, sex workers have—and will continue to— experience rampant discrimination in non-sex work employment. This Note argues that discrimination against sex workers is sex discrimination under Title VII. Specifically, because most sex workers are women, any policy of refusing to hire or retain sex workers will have a disparate impact based on sex and is, therefore, an impermissible employment practice under federal law.
Keywords: sex work, title VII, sex discrimination, disparate impact, anti-discrimination
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