Hoffman Discusses with D Magazine the Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on LGBTQ Rights in the Workplace

22 June 2020 D Magazine News
Partner Carrie Hoffman was quoted in the D Magazine article, “Landmark LGBTQ Ruling: What Employers Need to Know,” about the implications for businesses in recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. The court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the 1964 Civil Rights Act extends to gender identity and sexual orientation.

Hoffman explained the decision to D Magazine: “If I’m a person that fits in the LBGTQ community, it’s not like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has to change their forms, because I just have to check the sex box, because this decision says, sex is sex. It doesn’t matter why. So, it’s not like we’re waiting for that to play out. I think employers across the country need to make sure their policies comply, that their managers are being trained appropriately, so when we do Equal Employment Opportunity-type training of supervisors and executives, that they understand some things are no longer permitted, regardless of where you live,” she said of the ruling.

She also recommends that “every employee gets trained on the company’s harassment and discrimination policies. It’s a different level for hourly workers because they’re not making decisions about other people’s employment, but they do need to understand that these kinds of things are not permitted—and if they have a complaint, we want them to raise it internally as opposed to finding a lawyer and suing us, meaning we want the opportunity to correct bad behavior.

“With managers and supervisors who are making decisions that have impact and could potentially lead to liability if somebody determined they were inappropriate and illegal, we would we do different training about what their obligations are, what they need to do when someone comes to complain to them about any issue—LGBTQ included. I also don’t want my supervisors and managers in most companies conducting harassment and discrimination investigations. I generally want that in the hands of the whoever’s in charge of Equal Employment Opportunity for the company. I want the HR person, or whoever’s handling it if they don’t have an HR team,  to ensure things are taken seriously, and I want it done appropriately and documented. So, if somebody later sues me, I can demonstrate that I’ve done what I need to do under the law to correct any bad behavior,” she added.

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