Compliance Questions Remain After High Court's LGBTQ Ruling

July 13, 2020

Compliance Questions Remain After High Court's LGBTQ Ruling

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court settled one of the biggest questions in employment law in recent years, ruling that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia was a historic moment for individuals in the LGBTQ community and for their employers. While some workplace policies are certain to change in the coming months, many of the ruling's outcomes may not be known for some time.

Speaking to HR Dive, David Flugman – whose public interest practice is focused in part on advancing LGBTQ rights – explained that the decision “opens up a bunch of interesting things.” Title VII's mandate prohibiting employers from taking adverse employment actions or conditions of employment against an employee on the basis of protected characteristics is broad, he said, which means the high court's order could impact any of several conditions of employment. “A lot of things could potentially fall under that ruling.”

Some areas the Supreme Court's ruling did not immediately address include dress codes, bathroom and locker room access, and, as Flugman pointed out, pronoun policies. “We'll only find out when we see courts address the issue.” Some companies may opt to limit their liability as much as possible and draft policies, but each organization will likely make its own judgment of the risks involved before doing so, he said.

“I think that companies should be thinking about ways to innovate their employees' experience,” Flugman said. “Diversity and inclusion is important to getting the best performance from people…it's good for business to be inclusive and remove obstacles.”

Read the full article in HR Dive.