October 26, 2020

Volume X, Number 300

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October 26, 2020

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Supreme Court Rules Employers Cannot Discriminate Against LGBTQ Employees: Key Takeaways

Title VII prohibits discrimination in the workplace "because of sex." Courts across the country, long split as to whether this prohibition applies to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status, now have guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court:

Employers cannot discriminate against employees on either basis. In an opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court made clear that discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity is "inextricably bound up with sex," and, therefore, unlawful.

What does this mean for employers?

First, review your written policies and handbooks to ensure that prohibited discrimination is described in a manner consistent with the Court's decision. Does your handbook explicitly state that discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, transgender status, or gender identity will not be tolerated? Do your benefit plans adequately account for this change in the law? If not, now is a good time for updates.

Second, be sure to educate your company's decisionmakers, such as officers, managers, and supervisors, that adverse treatment of employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or transgender status is no longer simply indecent, it is now unlawful under federal law, and may subject your company (and, possibly, such individuals, personally) to liability.

Finally, if you haven't already done so, schedule harassment compliance training for all of your employees which, in Illinois and many other jurisdictions, is required annually.

© 2020 Much Shelist, P.C.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 170
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About this Author

Sheryl Jaffee Halpern, Much Shelist Law firm, Labor Employment Attorney
Principal

Sheryl Jaffee Halpern, chair of the firm's Labor & Employment group, helps employers make important decisions about their employees in a way that is designed to minimize risk. counsels clients on a wide range of employment matters, providing clear, direct guidance designed to promote compliance with the law, while remaining cognizant of the practical workplace realities her clients face. She counsels employers on a wide range of employment matters, providing clear and direct guidance that promotes legal compliance, while remaining cognizant of the practical...

312-521-2637
Laura A. Elkayam Employment Lawyer Much Law Firm
Associate

Laura helps employers implement best practices to promote compliance with federal, state, and local labor and employment laws, while remaining mindful of each company’s unique business strategies and objectives.

Laura advises employers on matters pertaining to nearly every aspect of the employment relationship, including hiring, termination, leaves of absence, and wage and hour issues. She counsels clients on compliance with a variety of employment laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Laura also drafts and revises employee handbooks and drafts and negotiates employment agreements, separation agreements, and restrictive covenants.

312.521.2770
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