Does federal law prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation?

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Yes. Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is discrimination based on sex under Title VII. The Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, +2020 U.S. Lexis 3252 (U.S. June 15, 2020), that an employer that terminates an employee merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII. Title VII covers employers with 15 or more employees.

In addition to federal law, many state and local laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The state and local laws may apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees. An employer should be sure to consult the laws that apply in the jurisdiction where it is located and conducts business.