New Ruling Provides Protection for LGBTQ+ Employees

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Employers are now prohibited from discriminating against LGBTQ+ employees

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled employment discrimination on the basis of a worker’s sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

It is already illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The U.S Supreme Court’s new ruling now provides similar protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) employees.

In the court’s opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch said, “An employer who discriminates against homosexual or transgender employees necessarily and intentionally applies sex-based rules.”

Discrimination against sexual orientation or LGBTQ+ employees is prohibited because it is sex-based and relies on stereotypes about whom people should be attracted to. Discrimination against gender identity or transgender employees is also sex-based and prohibited because it relies on employees to conform to gender norms. To put it simply: treating any employee based on who they are attracted to or how they identify is discrimination.

With a federal law in place, the nondiscrimination laws (or lack thereof) in a state are no longer relevant when it comes to LGBTQ+ discrimination. Federal law will supersede any state or local law. 

Employers who violate any aspects of the federal law could face punitive or compensatory damages as a result. It’s important to consult with your Nextep HR business partner on any disciplinary action, termination, or employment change so we can help you make the best employment decisions. 

Nextep’s HR team is currently making revisions to our handbook policies to include language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We answered more common questions about diversity and inclusion in the workplace on our blog

It’s important to make sure you’re following regulations as well as heeding the advice of HR experts when creating policies. Our experts are ready to help! Contact your HR business partner or give us a call at 888.811.5150.

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