LGBT – Does the Term Scare You?

  • By: Staff Editor
  • Date: October 08, 2015
Webinar All Access Pass Subscription

LGBT – Does the Term Scare You?

From the armed forces to the private sector, the sexual discrimination claims filed by LGBTQIA employees have been reviewed with avid interest by federal courts, showing their support for EEOC’s stance on the matter. Employers, however, are wary on the subject.

Am I likely to be hit by a lawsuit? Do I have any LGBTQIA employees to worry about? These are perhaps not the right questions, at least if they are the only questions in your arsenal. Is my workplace in compliance with EEOC’s mandates? Are my employees trained on the subject as they should be? These questions would probably set you in the right direction.


Yes the terminology has been modified and so have the laws protecting employees who fall within its perimeter. LGBTQIA now stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Inter Sex and Asexual. The primary force protecting their interests at the workplace is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with its strong sense of what Title VII represents – building on the sexual discrimination clause that forms the basis of the law.

So What Exactly Does Title VII Say?

Quite simply put, there are no clauses under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that address sexual orientation or gender identity. What it does clearly stipulate though is that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sex.

Strongly supported by this directive and based on past and current rulings from Supreme and federal courts, the Commission sees workplace discrimination against an LGBT employee as sexual discrimination. Further on, any LGBT person who has been subject to workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can file a charge in any one of EEOC’s 53 field offices.

EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan for FY 2013-2016 too includes "coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, as they may apply."

At the heel of major rulings, such as Macy v. Department of Justice (April 20, 2012) in a case of gender identity discrimination and David Baldwin v. Dep't of Transportation (July 15, 2015) in a case of sexual orientation, the EEOC’s SEP plan for 2013-2016 seems to be the frontrunner for what will soon become major legislative changes.

Title VII and Your Workplace

Corporates play a huge role in setting the bar for social acceptance of LGBTQIA individuals. Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, Nike, Gap, Microsoft, MasterCard, Ernst & Young – these are just a fraction of the big names that have shown their immense support towards LGBT rights. Their viewpoint is a common one: the search for talent and skillsets cannot be restrained by individual preferences. Here’s where any workplace can excel by embracing diversities.

Amid this rush to understand civil and LGBT rights lies the scope for all organizations to rehash their policies and consolidate them to be more inclusive. The diverse state and local laws pertaining to LGBT employee rights may seem like a labyrinth at the outset, while at the crux, they remain simple and easy to adapt.

Best Sellers
You Recently Viewed