On June 15, 2021 the EEOC released its updated guidance on protections extended to LGBTQ+ workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Title VII prohibits a private employer from discriminating against any employee because of a protected classification (e.g., race, color, national origin, and sex).
The EEOC’s latest guidelines revision was prompted by last year’s US Supreme Court holding in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia (June 15, 2020) The Court’s ruling in Bostock broadened Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination because of an individuals “sex” to include discrimination because of sexual orientation or transgender status. Title VII applies to employers with 15+ employees and specifically prohibits discrimination in the “terms and conditions and privileges of employment” at all stages of the employer/employee relationship (e.g., hiring, work assignments, promotions, and termination).
Specifically, employers may not discriminate against any employee on account of their sex. This includes discrimination based on perceived customer preferences or requirements that employees conform to traditional gender dress standards. Title VII does not prevent an employer from maintaining separate restrooms, changing or locker rooms. However, employees must be allowed to use the facility that corresponds with their gender identity which may or may not differ from the gender assigned at birth.
The issuance of newly updated guidelines is always an opportunity to review existing policies/procedures to ensure your business is in compliance with these and other mandated protections.
 The acronym LGBTQ+ is an every growing and expanding term intended to be inclusive of people of all genders and sexualities. As such the acronym is often seen in many variations (e.g., LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA+) The letters refer generally to the following: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual. The + is an inclusive symbol to cover different and varying subsects.
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