Showing posts with label LGBTQ Discrimination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBTQ Discrimination. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

It's illegal to deny coverage for gender-affirming care to a transgender employee simply because the employee is transgender

Can an employer-sponsored health plan legally deny coverage for gender-affirming care to a transgender employee simply because the employee is transgender?

According to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Lange v. Houston Cty., the answer is an unequivocal "No, it cannot!"

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Sexual harassment, bathroom, and pronouns

"Sex-based harassment includes harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, including … repeated and intentional use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual’s known gender identity … or the denial of access to a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility consistent with the individual’s gender identity."

That the official position of the EEOC in its just released, Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace.

EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas disagrees. She voted against the final guidance. She believes that the bathroom guidance is an "assault on women's sex-based privacy and safety," and the pronoun guidance is an assault on "speech and belief rights."

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

“DEI” is not a 4-letter word

"DEI" is not a 4-letter word … no matter what some people want you to believe.

Companies such as Sherwin-Williams are scrapping their internal use of the words "Diversity," "Equity," and "Inclusion," and are replacing them with words such as "Belonging" and "Culture."

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Whether you like it or not, it’s illegal to discriminate against transgender employees

“Do you have female parts?”
“You’re not a real man.”
“If I just say ‘she’, that’s what she is.”

Those are among the allegations that the EEOC made against T.C. Wheelers Bar & Pizzeria on behalf of Quinn Gambino, a transgender man the restaurant employed as a cook. Mr. Gambino complained to management about the harassment, but it continued unabated.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Denying gender-affirming health care to transgender employees is unlawful discrimination

Morgan Mesi, a transgender man, has just sued his former employer, Tenzing Wine & Spirits, along with his labor union and group health plan, claiming that they discriminated against him because of his sex by denying medical insurance coverage for gender-affirming care.

To me, Bostock v. Clayton Cty. clearly resolves this issue. In Bostock, SCOTUS held that Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination also prohibits discrimination because of an employee's sexual orientation or gender identity. Indeed, Bostock could not have been clearer regarding the treatment of transgender employees: "[a]n individual's … transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions."

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

It’s illegal for gay people to discriminate against straight people … just not on these facts in this case

There is no such thing as "reverse" discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, whether the victim is, for example, Black or white, female or male, gay or straight. When the employee claiming discrimination is in the majority, however, in the 6th Circuit they must not only show disparate treatment, but also must show "background circumstances to support the suspicion that the defendant is that unusual employer who discriminates against the majority."

Which brings us to the story of Marlean Ames, a straight woman who sued the Ohio Department of Youth Services for sex discrimination under Title VII claiming that her lesbian supervisor discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation. Ames claimed that OHYS passed her over for a promotion, demoted her, and promoted a gay man to her former position.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

“Misgendering” is NOT a thought-crime

The EEOC is NOT trying to make "misgendering" a thought-crime.

The agency recently proposed new Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace. Contained with that guidance is the EEOC's legally correct statement that the "intentional and repeated use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual's gender identity" could create a hostile work environment constituting unlawful sexual harassment. That interpretation of Title VII by the EEOC is consistent with judicial opinions dating back nearly a decade.

In response, Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Director of the Conscience Project, wrote an op-ed on taking the EEOC to task for its alleged "thought-policing."

Friday, September 22, 2023

WIRTW #688: the “(not) Progressives” edition

Misgendering a transgender employee + forcing him to out himself to his coworkers + passing him over for a promotion + subjecting him to an unwanted office transfer + scrutinizing his medical appointments and other time off + ignoring his three HR complaints = a jury trial for Progressive Insurance on claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

According to the plaintiff, the first four years of his employment at Progressive were without incident, until he informed his supervisor of his intent to transition from female to male. That's when he alleges the mistreatment began, and continued for the final four years of his employment until he quit.

Transgender people are under attack. This lawsuit is a symptom of a much larger problem in workplaces across our country. Trans employees often experience discrimination, harassment, and a lack of understanding, including from their work colleagues and bosses. As an employer, it is important to create a safe and inclusive environment for all employees, including those who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming. Otherwise, you just might find yourself at a receiving end of a well-deserved and difficult-to-defend lawsuit. Just ask Progressive Insurance.

The case is John Doe v. Progressive Ins., and you can find the court's summary judgment opinion here.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

$2.6 million reasons why it’s illegal to fire a gay employee

Yesterday, a federal jury in Columbus returned a $2.6 million verdict in favor of Stacey Yerkes, a former Ohio State Highway Patrol employee who claimed that she was constructively discharged (forced to quit based on intolerable and unreasonable working conditions) because of her sexual orientation.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Color me unsurprised that businesses are already using 303 Creative to discriminate

If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman, please seek services at a local pet groomer. You are not welcome at this salon. Period.

Those are the words of Christine Geiger, the owner of Studio 8 Hair Lab, in a post on the business's now-deleted Facebook page. In a still-available comment on another Facebook page, Geiger says, "I have no issues with LGB. It’s the TQ+ that I'm not going to support. For those that don't know what the + is for, it's for MAP (Minor Attracted Person aka: pedophile)." Meanwhile, the business's private Instagram page describes itself as, "A private CONSERVATIVE business that does not cater to woke ideologies." 

We get the point. Geiger doesn't like transgender people and is using her religion and the Supreme Court's decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis to justify her discrimination.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

10 ways to support your LGBTQ employees #pride

Today is the first day of Pride Month. June might be Pride Month, but your business should commit to and support its LGBTQ employees 24/7/365. Here are 10 ideas that incorporate this inclusion and demonstrate your support of your LGBTQ workers.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Uber suspends DEI exec over “Don’t Call Me Karen” events

Uber has suspended its longtime head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Bo Young Lee, after Black and Hispanic employees complained that an event she ran — titled "Don't Call Me Karen" — was insensitive to people of color.

"Karen," in case you've lived an a cave without WiFi for the past half-decade, is slang for an entitled white woman who often complains to a management and the authorities about Black people and other minorities.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Intentional misgendering IS sexual harassment

Jane works as a cashier at a donut shop. She is a transgender female who identifies by a female name and female pronouns. Her supervisor, Lisa, however, refuses to use Jane's preferred gender. She uses Jane's male legal name, male pronouns, and "dude" when referring to her, despite Jane's frequent requests for her to use female pronouns and the preferred female name. Lisa would similarly encourage customers not to use Jane's preferred name or pronouns.

Did Lisa create a hostile work environment based on Jane's sex? 

You bet she did.

Monday, April 10, 2023

7th Circuit decides the issue of religious rights vs. trans rights … and trans rights won

I really wanted to move on this week from writing about transgender rights. But then the 7th Circuit had to go and decide that a student's right to be called by his or her preferred gender trumps a teacher's religious accommodation request not to do so.

The case is Kluge v. Brownsburg Community School Corp. John Kluge worked as a music teacher at the Brownsburg Community School Corp. In 2017, the school adopted a new policy that required teachers to use students' chosen names and pronouns. Kluge refused to abide, asserting that it violated his Christian beliefs. The school initially granted an accommodation that permitted Kluge to refer to all students by their last names. It withdrew the accommodation, however, after both trans and cisgender students became angered after deciphering Kluge's surname use. Kluge resigned and sued for religious discrimination and retaliation under Title VII.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Trans lives are human lives, and anti-LGBTQIA+ hate is wrong

"Dirty, f**got-loving motherf**ker." That's what someone yelled at me after I answered my office phone yesterday. I wish I knew who it was, but they chose to hide behind a blocked phone number.
For the past two days, I've posted about how employers can better support their transgender employees. Coincidence doesn't always equal causation, but in this case, I have to believe my posts and that awful phone call are linked.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

5 tips to help support our trans employees in the workplace

Transgender people are under attack. They often experience discrimination, harassment, and a lack of understanding, including from their work colleagues and bosses. As an employer, it is important to create a safe and inclusive environment for all employees, including those who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.

Here are five steps you can take in your business to support transgender and gender nonconforming employees at work:

Monday, April 3, 2023

We are failing our trans employees

"You're not a real man."
"Do you have female parts?"

Those are just two of the allegations the EEOC has raised in a lawsuit it just filed on behalf of Quinn Gambino, a transgender male, against his former employer, T.C. Wheelers Bar & Pizzeria.

The agency further alleges that management and co-workers made numerous other anti-transgender comments, including intentionally misgendering Gambino by using female pronouns and equating being transgender with pedophilia. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Employee harassed after coming out at work loses harassment lawsuit

After an employee comes out at work as gay, he alleges that co-workers left him pink nail polish, a nail file, and bath bombs, that someone posted Bible verses on his desk, and that he was moved to an isolated corner of the office. 

Based on these facts, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the employee's sexual harassment claim.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Your religion isn’t a license to discriminate (but we may need to accommodate you anyway)

Pronouns confuse me. It's not that I want to misgender anyone. In fact, quite to the contrary, I try really hard to get people's pronouns correct when addressing them or speaking about them. To me, it's a simple matter of common decency. My efforts to get them correct, however, doesn't mean that they still don't confuse me. When I grew up, I learned that "they" refers to a group of people. Thus, when someone refers to someone else as "they," my brains says, "more than one." It's just difficult, but I still try to get it right.

Which brings me to the story of Vivian Geraghty, a middle school teacher. She is suing her former employer after being told either to use the preferred pronouns of her students or resign. She chose the latter, and claims in her lawsuit that the school's mandate discriminated against her Christian beliefs, which the school should have accommodated. Geraghty says the school instead should have explored potential accommodations such as moving her to another classroom or addressing students by their last names

Monday, June 13, 2022

LGBTQ+ rights vs. religious liberty

"It's an abomination to God. Rainbow is not meant to be displayed as a sign for sexual gender."

That's what Daniel Snyder wrote on the electronic bulletin board of his employer, Arconic. According to the Des Moines Register and Snyder's recently filed lawsuit, it's also what got him fired.