Allies at Work: Supporting LGBTQ+ Coworkers and Addressing Sexual Orientation Discrimination
For most of U.S. history, LGBTQ+ people could easily be terminated from their jobs or miss out on job opportunities due to something as simple as their sexual orientation or gender identity. The situation has improved over time, but there is still a long way to go before LGBTQ+ individuals will be able to be truly free from workplace discrimination.
In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in a case called Bostock v. Clayton County. The Court ruled that Title VII bars employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status.
After Bostock, it is unlawful for employers to take an employee’s or job candidate’s sexual orientation or transgender status into account when making employment-related decisions.
Title VII, and therefore Bostock, applies to companies with 15 or more employees, to state and local government employers with 15 or more employees, and to the federal government. Employers with fewer than 15 employees are not covered by Title VII. Independent contractors are not covered either.
We live in a world where many state legislatures are trying to advance bills targeting LGBTQ+ and transgender people. According to an NBC News analysis in 2022, almost 700 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were filed in state legislatures from 2018 through the first quarter of 2022.