Two weeks ago, on June 15, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance regarding sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) discrimination for employers, under federal law.
This new guidance addresses and expands upon the decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which the U.S. Supreme Court issued exactly one year prior. In that decision, the court held that firing or otherwise discriminating against individuals because of their homosexuality or transgender status violates the prohibition against discrimination based on sex under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, which applies to all employers with 15 or more employees.
The EEOC’s new resources include a webpage, a technical assistance document, and a fact sheet on SOGI discrimination. The webpage also includes links to the existing EEOC publications on related topics, such as facility/bathroom access and guidance for federal employees.
- June 15, 2020: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) violated Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act (Title VII).
- June 15, 2021: The EEOC published new resources to help employers comply with Title VII’s prohibition against SOGI discrimination.
These new EEOC resources clarify that employers may not:
- Segregate or discriminate against employees based on actual or perceived customer or client preferences (such as by keeping LGBTQ+ employees out of public-facing positions or directing them to certain stores or geographic locations);
- Prohibit any transgender person from dressing or presenting consistent with that person’s gender identity;
- Deny an employee equal access to bathroom, locker room, or shower that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity; or
- Create or allow any hostile workplace, such as intentionally and repeatedly using the wrong name or pronoun to refer to any transgender employee.
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