This month, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, finding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on account of sexual orientation and gender identity. While various state laws may not expressly prohibit such discrimination, many scholars believe that the various state courts, if given the opportunity, would reach a conclusion similar to the United States Supreme Court in Bostock. As such, we give you some more details on this decision and some resources where you can find help to get your business prepared.*
The Bostock case aggregates several lower court cases - each of which allege an employer fired long-time employees simply for being homosexual or transgender. The circuit courts split on their decisions and the Supreme Court resolved that circuit split with this decision. Under Bostock, employees now have the right to bring a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for firing an individual merely for being gay or transgender. This was an unanswered question in federal jurisprudence until this week's Supreme Court decision and will have sweeping ramifications for employers across the nation.
The Bostock decision, regardless of what state your business may be in, opens the door to liability under Title VII for claims of sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination. It is important that a company's internal policies and procedures, and training be updated to reflect this significant change in law.
We have some of our favorite resources to help you update your internal policies and procedures and employee training. Lessonly is an easy software tool that can help you update your training documents and inform your workforce of these changes. Hello Alice is also a great site to find experts for your small business journey and it's got some great free resources that will help with all aspects of your business. Last but not least, there are several legal resources including employment law firms in your area with free sites like Legal Match that can connect you to local attorneys or online resources like Legal Zoom that have several options for small businesses.
We hope this post gives you some insight into the new law of the land and resources where you can get additional help in its implementation.
*This is not legal advice. Each business and person should contact their own attorney for their specific needs.
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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