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01 Sep

September 2021: EEOC Releases New Document on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

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Update Applicable to:
All employers.

What happened?
On June 15, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a technical Q&A document on “Protections Against Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity”.

What are the details?
The published document provides guidance on the Title VII protections that were extended by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 15, 2020, to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status.

The guidance outlines several FAQ points and prohibitions that clients should be aware of such as the following:

  • An employer may not exclude transgender employees from the bathroom that corresponds with their sexual identity.
  • An employer may not discriminate against a potential or current LGBTQ+ employee solely because customers or clients would prefer to work with people with a different sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • It would also “be discriminatory to keep LGBTQ+ employees out of public-facing positions.”
  • An employer may not require that a transgender employee dress in a way that is inconsistent with their gender identity.
  • The intentional and repeated use of the wrong pronoun to refer to a transgender employee could contribute to an unlawful hostile work environment.

The guidance document can be read here.

An article on the guidance can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the EEOC’s guidance here to stay in compliance with the protections enforced by the EEOC and U.S. Supreme Court.