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On Demand

Managing LGBTQ Issues in the Workplace: Legal Obligations and Best Practices


Created on June 22, 2018



In recent months, we have seen several important legal rulings impacting the workplace rights of the LGBTQ community. Between the various court decisions, state and local law and guidance, states attempting to preempt local laws impacting LBGTQ rights, religious freedom laws, and bathroom laws, the legal landscape seems to be a moving target. In the near future, it may fall upon the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether Title VII's prohibition of discrimination based on "sex" includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In the meantime, almost half of the states and many more cities already specifically prohibit discrimination and harassment based on these factors.

Beyond these threshold legal questions, employers face challenges associated with providing a respectful working environment in which all employees feel comfortable, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to employers' fulfilling their legal obligations, they must decide what kinds of policies and practices are appropriate in order to reflect the values of the organization.

This program, presented by Susan Gross Sholinsky and Amanda M. Gómez of Epstein Becker Green, will update attendees on the current state of the law, including federal, state, and local law, and offer practical guidance for developing workplace policies and best practices most suitable to your company's needs and objectives. The program will examine how to create, implement, and enforce comprehensive and inclusive nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies and procedures; educate managers, supervisors, and employees on proper protocols, employee rights, and the meaning of various terms; obtain manager buy-in to the company's objectives, while simultaneously allaying employee concerns; and develop LGBTQ-supportive polices, including those pertaining to non-discrimination, privacy, and confidentiality.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Gain an update on the ever-evolving state of LGBTQ law, including the split among the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the state of the states (and cities), various agencies' guidance on LGBTQ rights in the workplace, and how LGBTQ laws affect a range of workplace policies, including health and other benefits, and leaves of absence
  2. Develop best practices for your company and employees
  3. Design appropriate plans for transitioning employees, including designating a point of contact and coordinating other support, creating a transition timeline, understanding when leaves of absence for medical procedures may be required or appropriate, handling communications with co-workers and clients, addressing bathroom and locker room access, and mandating proper pronoun usage and gender-neutral dress codes

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