Wilmington, USA

EEOC’s new guidance regarding sexual orientation and gender identity workplace discrimination

By Patricia Goodson, Beth Langley and Sarah Saint, Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP

In Bostock v Clayton County, the US Supreme Court held that terminating an employee on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity violated the sex discrimination prohibition found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and federal courts have interpreted Bostock to mean that other acts prohibited by Title VII are unlawful when done on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Employers subject to Title VII should review the EEOC’s resources and take steps to comply, including:

  • Updating discrimination and harassment policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Revising grooming and dress codes.
  • Developing a plan for what to do if an employee “comes out” or plans to “transition”, including how to update the employee’s public-facing image and what accommodations may be needed. (Some documents may use an employee’s chosen name, but other documents require recording an employee’s legal name and gender, and may not be changed absent a court order or other government record.)
  • Updating documents to include diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
  • Training workers on the implications of Bostock.
  • Reminding employees of the reporting procedure for discrimination or harassment of any kind.

Patricia Goodson

Patricia Goodson

GGI member firm
Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP
Law Firm Services
Greensboro (NC), Raleigh (NC), Wilmington (NC), USA
T: +1 910 444 2024
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W: brookspierce.com

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is a full-service corporate law firm providing innovative and comprehensive legal services to businesses, organisations and individuals worldwide.

Patricia Goodson provides strategic legal counsel to employers on day-to-day issues involving employees, including discipline, discharge, leave, and wage-andhour issues. She defends employers in state and federal court on discrimination and other employment-related claims. She is also Global Vice-Chair of the GGI Labour Law Practice Group.
Beth Langley

Beth Langley

GGI member firm
Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP
Law Firm Services
Greensboro (NC), Raleigh (NC), Wilmington (NC), USA
T: +1 910 444 2024
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: brookspierce.com

Beth Langley has over 25 years of experience counselling employers of all sizes on a wide range of employment law issues. She has represented businesses in employment litigation in matters involving civil rights, non-competition agreements, and trade secret protection.
Sarah Saint

Sarah Saint

GGI member firm
Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP
Law Firm Services
Greensboro (NC), Raleigh (NC), Wilmington (NC), USA
T: +1 910 444 2024
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: brookspierce.com

Sarah Saint provides strategic legal counsel to employers on day-to-day issues involving employees, including discipline, discharge, leave, and wage-andhour issues. She defends employers in state and federal court on discrimination and other employment-related claims. She is also Global Vice-Chair of the GGI Labour Law Practice Group.


Published: Employment Law Newsletter, No.11, Autumn 2021 l Photo: Sharkshock - stock.adobe.com

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