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A Better Partnership


Dec 2014
December 15, 2014

The EEOC Stance On LGBT-Related Discrimination

The EEOC recently published a “What You Should Know” document about the agency’s enforcement of existing anti-discrimination protections for LGBT workers, citing recent developments that have piqued interest on the topic. The EEOC also published a companion fact sheet on EEOC litigation developments on Title VII’s coverage of LGBT-related discrimination and a list of federal-sector cases involving transgender persons. Use the QR codes to download the EEOC documents or visit

From January through September 2013, the EEOC received 667 charges raising allegations of sex discrimination related to sexual orientation and 161 charges alleging sex discrimination based on gender identity/transgender status, according to government data. From October 2013 through June of 2014, the agency received 663 charges alleging sex discrimination related to sexual orientation and 140 charges alleging sex discrimination on the basis of gender identity/transgender status.

The new EEOC publications reveal the agency is committed to pursuing charges that allege discrimination based on transgender status, as well as those filed by lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals that allege sexual-orientation discrimination. Here is a summary of what businesses should expect from the EEOC, according to independent analyses of the agency’s new publications. According to the EEOC:
  • Federal anti-discrimination laws the agency enforces “protect all workers, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
  • Discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender is a violation of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination in employment.
  • The agency’s district, field and area offices have been instructed “to take and investigate (where appropriate) charges from individuals who believe they have been discriminated against because of transgender status (or because of gender identity or a gender transition).”
  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals may bring valid Title VII sex discrimination claims, and that charges alleging sexual orientation-related discrimination should be accepted. “These allegations might include, for example, claims of sexual harassment or other kinds of sex discrimination, such as adverse actions taken because of the person’s failure to conform to sex-stereotypes,” the EEOC wrote.

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