Three things your company should do in response to landmark Supreme Court ruling on LGBTQ employees’ rights

Last week the Federal Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling affirming that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay, lesbian and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace.

The ruling was 6-3 and protects employees of covered employers, which includes most private employers throughout the U.S., with at least 15 employees.

For Florida, it opens up the protections statewide providing those employees who may not live in an area, such as Tampa Bay or Miami, which have local ordinances in place; offering discriminatory protection for LGBTQ employees.

Alicia Koepke

“Most people in Hillsborough County understood that employers can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” says Alicia Koepke, a shareholder with Trenam Law, “because local ordinances expressly prohibit such discrimination. Now it is clear that covered employers throughout Florida, and the rest of the country, must afford those protections to their LGBTQ employees under Title VII.”

The ruling also offers more clarity for employers.

“There’s more uniformity for businesses of a certain size,” Koepke says.

Here are three things your business should consider doing in response to the ruling.

  1. Review your company’s EEO and anti-harassment policies. Make sure the language is clear and includes language for sexual orientation and gender identity.
  2. Conduct training to educate your employees about discrimination and harassment. Be sure all employees understand what is prohibited workplace behavior.
  3. Keep learning! This ruling may change other policies in your workplace. Have conversations and be sure you’re open to meeting the needs of employees, if appropriate.

“This is an opportunity to keep learning [about how to protect LGBTQ rights],” Koepke says. “We can always do better.”





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