LGBT Issues

Author: Beth Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor

States and municipalities are increasingly passing laws to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the workplace including making sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes.

Although not yet recognized as protected classes under federal law and Title VII, as a best practice, employers should prohibit discrimination and harassment against all employees and applicants based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Employers should also be sure to implement training and be prepared to make reasonable accommodations for LGBT employees when it comes to issues such as employee restrooms, name changes and dress codes.


Employers may face particular tasks, such as preventing same-sex discrimination in the workplace, managing transgender employees in the workplace, and eliminating sex stereotyping, when addressing the needs of LGBT employees in the workplace. The following XpertHR Tasks are available for consultation:

How To

Preventing discrimination against LGBT employees, properly dealing with their discrimination complaints and confronting more sensitive items such as appearance, bathroom and locker room use, are all issues that can arise for LGBT employees in the workplace. Step-by-step guidance for employers addressing these concerns is available through the following How Tos:

Supervisor Briefings

Supervisors on the job can greatly benefit from clear and direct guidance on the proper approach to confronting cases of discrimination against or harassment and bullying of LGBT employees. XpertHR offers the following Supervisor Briefings to assist:

Policies and Documents

Having a discrimination policy in place is essential to prevent all types of discrimination in the workplace, including discrimination against LGBT employees. XpertHR carries the below model policy:

Employment Law Manual

Understanding the broader legal rights and obligations (both federal and state) with regard to discrimination, harassment and retaliation is essential in devising a proper approach to LGBT employees in the workplace. XpertHR's Employment Law Manual provides comprehensive information and resources to help, available at the following links:

Quick Reference

Many states and major municipalities have enacted legislation prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees in the workplace and providing other protection and benefits for LGBT employees. XpertHR's handy Quick Reference chart details the application of these requirements.

Detailed legal analysis on gender identity, gender expression, and transgender status in the workplace and more robust discussion of particular pieces of legislation, such as California's Gender Nondiscrimination Act, are available to give employers a greater understanding of the applicable legal obligations:

Law Reports

Understanding the outcome of particular court decisions on same-sex harassment, sex stereotyping and transgender individuals in the workplace and what these decisions may mean for employers helps in crafting proper policies and protections for LGBT employees. XpertHR carries the below Law Reports to assist:


Society and the law are rapidly changing when it comes to LGBTs in the workplace. The following blog post on XpertHR's Employment Intelligence Blog aims to explore such issues and educate readers as to recent events and emerging trends:

Best Practice Manual

The Best Practice Manual contains important information for employers on managing unique issues with respect to LGBT employees, preventing discrimination and harassment. It also contains a report which identifies the most friendly LGBT states and companies:


Basic Terminology

Discrimination and Harassment

Unique Issues