Articles Posted in Sexual Orientation

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On Tuesday, voters in Houston, TX took to the polls and said no to Prop 1. That’s a ballot measure that would have outlawed discrimination at work against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and job applicants. Amanda Terkel at The Huffington Post reports here that, despite having widespread support from local and national politicians and businesses, the measure failed, in large part, because of the “bathroom” issue. That is, many voters did not want transgender women using the women’s restroom (and vice-versa).

Meanwhile, on Tuesday in our Nation’s Capital, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights issued a “groundbreaking report” revealing a high rate of discrimination against transgender job applicants.

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Back in April, the EEOC concluded that transgender discrimination is discrimination based on sex and, therefore, violates Title VII. That same month, a federal court denied another employer’s motion to dismiss the sex discrimination claims of a transgender employee. However, in denying the motion to dismiss, the court did not conclude that transgender discrimination is sex discrimination. Rather, it reaffirmed that Title VII prohibits sex stereotyping; i.e., when an employer takes action because an employee does not conform to the employer’s sex- or gender-based preferences, expectations, or stereotypes.

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Nuvola LGBT flag borderless
On Monday, I got into last week’s EEOC ruling that sexual-orientation discrimination is sex discrimination and, therefore, violates Title VII. Yesterday, I took up the First Amendment Defense Act, which has been described by the ACLU as “Indiana on Steroids.”

On Thursday, make way for the Equality Act, according to Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade (here). Continue reading

Showing your pride - DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 (7356403050).jpgLast Friday, I briefly mentioned the EEOC’s recent decision, in which it concluded that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal anti-discrimination law that bans employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex, also forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual). The EEOC concluded that sex discrimination also takes into account “sex-based considerations,” which includes sexual orientation. Continue reading

Apple in HandOk, presumably, I’m not the only employment lawyer trying to apply the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to the employer-employee relationship. But, I can guarantee that this will be the best post you read about it today.

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Caitlyn Jenner got the cover of Vanity Fair and a million new Twitter followers shortly after confirming that she was no longer Bruce Jenner. So, by riding that wave with a timely blog post, I should at least get page 5 — above the fold — in the latest edition of “Employment-Law Blog Hunks,” the one you all read for the articles.

(Actually, I will be on Knowledge@Wharton’s daily show on SiriusXM channel 111 – Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School today from 10-12 EDT, as a follow-up to yesterday’s post, discussing Monday’s Supreme Court decision in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.)

Now, before my ego explodes like a baseball off of Giancarlo Stanton’s bat, let’s revisit the issue of transgender employees and restroom access. Continue reading

Exactly one month ago, I addressed what many consider to be the elephant in the room when it comes to transgender employees: bathroom use.

On Wednesday, EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum fired off a series of tweets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) to lawyers representing employers and employees. Below (and here) is the one she sent to my side of the bar:

By extension, this tweet is intended for companies as well.

The tweet links to an article from Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner. Mr. Geidner addresses a recent EEOC decision which underscores the risks employers face when they play bathroom police for transgender employees:

In a decision dated April 1, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that Tamara Lusardi “was subjected to disparate treatment on the basis of sex” — a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — while working as a civilian employee at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Lusardi was forced to use a single-user restroom and not the women’s restroom after transitioning in 2010. On the occasions when she used the women’s restroom — when the single-user restroom was out of order or being cleaned — she was confronted by a supervisor. In addition, a supervisor repeatedly, and in front of other employees, referred to Lusardi by her former male name and with male pronouns.

While the EEOC’s decision involves a federal employer, and does not bind private employers, don’t think for a second that the EEOC would hesitate to pursue similar claims in the private sector. Indeed, it has. We’ve also seen a sex discrimination lawsuit by a former Sak’s transgender employee. That case settled.

As I noted in my prior transgender bathroom post, this issue is real. Employers need to educate their employees and train their managers that respect in the workplace extends to transgender employees too.