Before the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 15, 2020, gay, lesbian and transgender workers were shielded from workplace discrimination in only a handful of states. The new ruling, however, now extends protections to millions of LGBTQ employees under the existing federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In a historic decision, the ruling clarifies that the law’s anti-discrimination provisions also include the sexual orientation and gender identity of applicants and employees.
If you operate in state or local jurisdictions that already prohibit discrimination of LGBTQ workers, this ruling further validates and enforces those protections. And for employers in regions without such laws, be aware that it’s now illegal, under Title VII, to discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender workers. The same federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability covers sexual orientation and gender identity, too.
Going forward, all employers covered by Title VII (15 or more employees) should review their policies and practices to ensure they reflect the new Supreme Court ruling. Under expanded federal protections, you must be certain you’re treating gay, lesbian and transgender workers fairly and appropriately — from hiring and promotion to discipline and termination. Otherwise you run the risk of an employee complaint and potential lawsuit.
To stay a step ahead of the legal requirements and to foster a considerate, inclusive work environment for LGBTQ employees, you should:
Another workplace measure that is strongly recommended by the U.S. Supreme Court is to display anti-harassment postings. These create valuable awareness and help educate employees about the different behaviors that can be considered harassment.
It’s a good idea to review your employment benefits, too, to ensure that LGBTQ employees are not treated differently regarding healthcare coverage, parental leave and other benefits.
Make an important move toward strengthening your non-discriminatory hiring practices with the Job Application Smart App from HRdirect. The attorney-developed online application only contains legally permitted questions, so you can be certain you’re complying with essential federal and state hiring laws.
Something else to be aware of: a potential change or update to the federal “EEO Is the Law” (EEOC) posting. With a poster service provider like Poster Guard® Compliance Protection, you can leave the monitoring to the legal experts. A dedicated team of attorneys tracks regulatory activity across thousands of federal, state, city and county agencies. You receive guaranteed federal, state and local coverage for a full year, along with free automatic replacements every time a mandatory change occurs.
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