lgbtq employment law faqs

Pride Month is a time to celebrate diversity, promote equality, and raise awareness about the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. For LGBTQ+ employees in big businesses, understanding your employment rights is crucial to ensuring a safe and inclusive work environment. These LGBTQ employment law FAQs aim to inform and support LGBTQ+ employees by covering federal laws pertinent to all locations, including Memphis, TN; St. Louis, MO; and Chicago, IL.

LGBTQ Employment Law FAQs

1. What federal protections exist for LGBTQ+ employees?

Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sex. The Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock v. Clayton County decision extended these protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This landmark ruling means that LGBTQ+ employees are protected from discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, and other aspects of employment.

2. Does the federal law protect LGBTQ+ employees in all states?

Yes, the protections afforded by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as interpreted by the Bostock decision, apply nationwide. This means that regardless of the state or city you work in, you are protected under federal law from discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity.

3. What steps can LGBTQ+ employees take if they face discrimination at work?

If you experience discrimination at work, it’s important to take the following steps:

  • Document the Incident: Keep detailed records of discriminatory behavior, including dates, times, locations, text messages, pictures, and any witnesses.
  • Report to HR: File a formal complaint with your Human Resources department. Ensure your complaint is documented in writing.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult with an employment law attorney to understand your rights and the best course of action. They can guide you through filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

4. How can LGBTQ+ employees file a complaint with the EEOC?

To file a complaint with the EEOC, follow these steps:

  • Submit an Inquiry: Begin by submitting an online inquiry or visiting an EEOC office to discuss your situation.
  • File a Charge: If the EEOC determines your case has merit, you will need to file a formal charge of discrimination.
  • EEOC Investigation: The EEOC will investigate your claim, which may involve gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses.
  • Resolution: The EEOC will attempt to resolve the issue through mediation or may take legal action if necessary by issuing a Right to Sue Letter.

5. Are there any resources available for LGBTQ+ employees seeking support?

Yes, several resources are available:

6. What can big businesses do to support LGBTQ+ employees?

Businesses can create a more inclusive environment by:

  • Implementing Anti-Discrimination Policies: Ensure company policies explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Providing Diversity Training: Regular training sessions can help foster an inclusive culture and educate employees about LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Supporting LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): These groups provide a space for LGBTQ+ employees to connect and support each other.
  • Offering Inclusive Benefits: Ensure health benefits cover LGBTQ+-specific needs, including gender-affirming care.

7. What are some best practices for fostering an inclusive workplace?

  • Use Inclusive Language: Encourage the use of inclusive language in all company communications.
  • Promote Allyship: Encourage non-LGBTQ+ employees to act as allies and support their LGBTQ+ colleagues.
  • Create Safe Spaces: Establish safe spaces where LGBTQ+ employees can express themselves freely.
  • Recognize LGBTQ+ Contributions: Acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQ+ employees to the company.


Understanding your rights and the protections available to you as an LGBTQ+ employee is essential to maintaining a safe and inclusive workplace. During Pride Month and beyond, it’s important to stay informed and seek support when needed. If you’re facing discrimination or need legal advice, our firm is here to help. Contact us to learn more about how we can support you in asserting your rights and achieving workplace equality.

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