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

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.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Series of promotions dooms gay brewery employee’s sex discrimination claim

Midland Brewing Company hired Ryan Boshaw to work as a server. Over the span of nine months, it promoted him three times, to an hourly managerial position, to floor leader, and ultimately to front-of-house operations manager (the second highest ranking position in the business). 

Shortly after Boshaw's final promotion, however, Midland terminated him following a series of performance-related issues and concerns. The brewery had issue with how he handled an issue with customers who found hair in their food. He deviated from his job assignments and interfered with how others performed their jobs. He brough the wrong resume to an interview of a prospective employee. The final straw for the brewery was Boshaw missing a mandatory meeting after texting a co-worker that the meetings were "such a waste of time," and then being no-call/no-show for his shift that evening. The brewery fired him the next day because of his "absence and failure to notify management" in addition to "other issues."

Where's the claim that supports Boshaw's federal lawsuit? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The customer isn’t always right, especially when the customer wants you to discriminate

"I'm afraid we can't hire you because you won't mix well with our customers."

That's what the EEOC alleges a northern Minnesota furniture retailer told a transgender job applicant. It's also the reason that company has agreed to pay a $60,000 settlement. "Title VII does not permit discriminatory employment decisions based on customer preference," says the EEOC.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Transgender bathroom access remains a solution in search of a problem

Yesterday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of a school district challenging the right of a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity, leaving in place the landmark 4th Circuit opinion holding that transgender bathroom restrictions constitute illegal sex discrimination.

This decision falls in line with the EEOC's recent statement on this issue for employers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Explaining the EEOC’s brand-new LGBTQ+ resources in three words

Yesterday, Bostock v. Clayton County—the Supreme Court decision which held that Title VII expressly covers and protects gay and transgender employees—celebrated its one-year anniversary. 

To commemorate this event, the EEOC released new resources on the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity workplace rights. These materials include a new landing page that consolidates the EEOC's information on these issues and a new technical assistance document to help explain Bostock and the EEOC's positions on it.

As sure as I believe love is love, I'm sure every BigLaw firm will be publishing detailed summaries about this new technical assistance document. 

I can summarize it, however, in three short words.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Let's meet employees where they are on their pronouns

In Meriwether v. Hartop, the 6th Circuit recently decided that a state university cannot force a professor to use students' preferred gender pronouns, and permitted the prof to proceed with his lawsuit challenging the school's discipline for his misgendering.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Civil rights is not a pizza

Among the litany of executive orders President Biden issued in his first two days in office was one on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. It's a beautiful statement adopting as the policy of the federal government the Supreme Court's decision in Bostock that Title VII's definition of sex explicitly includes LGBTQ employees.