A Couple Action Items for HR in 2015

I. Should you add sexual orientation and transgender status to your harassment/discrimination policies?
As most HR professionals know, federal law does not facially include sexual orientation or trans-gender status as protected categories. And, while some states and cities have passed their own laws protecting these groups, leaving employers to comply with a patchwork of state and local laws  (Houston, Texas passed such an ordinance in 2014.), neither Louisiana nor Baton Rouge have done so. However, the United States Attorney General issued a memorandum in December 2014, making clear the federal government’s position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be interpreted as covering transgender employees.

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U.S. Department of Justice Takes Position that Title VII Prohibits Gender Identity Discrimination

gender identityOn December 15, 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a Memorandum that it is the position of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. This is an about-face from the DOJ’s stated position in 2006 that Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination did not include discrimination based on gender identity or transgender status.

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