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Will the EEOC’s update to its enforcement guidance help employers address issues related to the LGBTQ+ community?

Probably not, but it is a great start. Across the United States, sexual orientation and gender identity remain subjects of extensive debate and political discourse. Workplace challenges linked to these protected categories persistently surface. In response to these ongoing concerns, the EEOC has recently unveiled proposed enforcement guidance aimed at navigating emerging employment issues within these protected classes.

Sex-based harassment in the workplace refers to a form of unlawful discrimination and harassment that is based on an individual’s sex or gender. This type of harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome and offensive behavior, comments, advances, or actions due to their gender, which creates a hostile or intimidating work environment.

Best Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Lawyer Blogs on Point:

So, what’s different in the new proposed EOC guidance? Increasingly, employees are experiencing sex-based harassment through non-sexual conduct when employees and customers intentionally misgender and misname transgender employees. The proposed EEOC guidance states that the intentional and repeated use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual’s gender identity (misgendering) as well as the denial of access to a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility consistent with the individual’s gender identity will constitute actionable sex harassment.

An example of this gender identity guidance given by the EEOC is this:

Harassment Based on Gender Identity. Jennifer, a cashier at a fast food restaurant who identifies as female, alleges that supervisors, coworkers, and customers regularly and intentionally misgender her. One of her supervisors, Allison, frequently uses Jennifer’s prior male name, male pronouns, and “dude” when referring to Jennifer, despite Jennifer’s request for Allison to use her correct name and pronouns; other managers also intentionally refer to Jennifer as “he.” Coworkers have asked Jennifer questions about her sexual orientation and anatomy and asserted that she was not female. Customers also have intentionally misgendered Jennifer and made threatening statements to her, but her supervisors did not address the harassment and instead reassigned her to duties outside of the view of customers. Based on these facts, Jennifer has alleged harassment based on her gender identity.

This new guidance is the first document the EEOC commissioners have voted upon and issued on harassment since 1999. If this updated guidance is finalized, it will supersede the 1999 and prior guidance. The EEOC guidance is sub-regulatory — meaning it does not carry the weight of statutes or regulations — but it will be influential during EEOC investigations and litigation.

Do I have a claim for LGBTQ+ discrimination or harassment?

Best LGBTQ+ Employment Rights Lawyer Answer: Our sexual orientation and transgender employment law attorneys are dedicated to making sure that you are protected on your job if you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, queer, or questioning. If you have been wrongfully fired or discriminated against simply because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, or third gender; then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. (Read: What is the Spitz No Fee Guarantee?) Call our Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and North Carolina attorneys now to get help or advice. Your employment rights are constantly changing and the best way to find out if you can sue your boss, manager, supervisor or employer for discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination is to call Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and talk to its attorneys, who are experienced and dedicated to protecting the rights of employees just like you.


This employment law website is an advertisement. The sexual orientation, gender identity, and LGBTQ+ materials available at the top of this blog and at this wrongful termination and employment discrimination website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. To get help regarding you personal workplace discrimination or harassment issues, it would be best for you to contact our top attorneys to obtain advice with respect to any particular employment law issue or problem. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.

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