In a nod to LGBTQ+ Pride Month and the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released new resources “to educate employees, applicants and employers about the rights of all employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers, to be free from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.” The materials – none of which state new policy but instead rely on previously adopted positions – “are part of EEOC’s effort to ensure that the public can find accessible, plain language materials in a convenient location on EEOC’s website.”
A new page on the EEOC website provides information on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, including information on prohibited activities in the workplace, unlawful discrimination and harassment, employment policies and practices, and retaliation. It also provides individuals who believe they have been discriminated against with information on how to file a charge with the EEOC. “Additionally, there are links to EEOC statistics and updated fact sheets concerning recent EEOC litigation and federal sector decisions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.”
The EEOC also unveiled a new technical assistance document that is intended to facilitate understanding of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock and addresses the employers to which Title VII applies and the persons whom it protects, the types of discriminatory actions that Title VII prohibits, and various other “real-world” types of questions, including whether employers can justify discriminatory actions by pointing to customer or client preferences (they can’t) and whether Title VII protects employees even in states without laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (it does).
In discussing the new resources, EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows explained, “All people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, deserve an opportunity to work in an environment free from harassment or other discrimination . . . The new information will make it easier for people to understand their rights and responsibilities related to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
One year after the Bostock decision, employers should have modified their policies to ban sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. EEOC charges for this type of discrimination will become more commonplace, and these EEOC new resources may expedite that trend.