DiversityEEOCHR ComplianceHR Update

HR Update: EEOC Publishes Guidance Addressing Gender Identity Issues in the Workplace

By July 19, 2021 No Comments

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the protected class of sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In response, the EEOC has just provided clarity to certain issues facing transgender applicants and employees in the workplace. 

Employers are not permitted to deny an applicant or employee equal access to a shower, locker room, or bathroom based on the employee’s gender identity. If the employer maintains separate facilities for men and women, then the applicant or employee may use the bathroom, locker room, or shower that corresponds with their gender identity. 

Employers may not intentionally and repeatedly use the wrong name or pronouns when referring to a transgender applicant or employee. Accidental misuse of either name or pronoun is not a violation of Title VII, but if the conduct becomes severe or pervasive, it can contribute to a hostile work environment.  Also, employees may dress or present in the manner that corresponds to their gender identity. 

Violations of any of the above could result in an EEOC charge of discrimination. 

The link to the EEOC’s Protections Against Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity question-and-answer guidance may be found here.

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