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As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts tagged discrimination.
Supreme Court Extends Anti-Discrimination Protections to Gay and Transgender Employees

In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled today in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that gay and transgender employees are protected by federal anti-discrimination laws.  

Thus, as of June 15, 2020, public and private employers are prohibited from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity.

On July 21, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order that amends Executive Orders 11478 and 11246 by adding LGBT anti-discrimination protections. President Obama took this action after Congress failed to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have prohibited all employers with fifteen or more employees from discriminating based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”

Executive Order 11478 protects federal employees against certain types of discrimination. When President Nixon issued Executive Order 11478 in 1969, it barred discrimination “because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or age.”  Subsequently, President Clinton amended Executive Order 11478 to include “sexual orientation.” President Obama’s executive order, which is effective immediately, provides further protections for federal employees by prohibiting discrimination based on “gender identity.”

GavelIn our last two posts, we discussed terminating an employee and the importance of documentation. Earlier this week, in an opinion issued by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, Employers were provided with another example of why documentation is so important in the employer/employee relationship.  

The Case

The facts of the case are fairly straightforward: (1) Employee was terminated due to poor performance; (2) At the time she was terminated she was also pregnant; (3) Employee filed a lawsuit claiming pregnancy discrimination under Title VII. 

Stick figure pink slip (00092262).JPGThis is part II of my post from Friday.  The following procedures provide a basic template that you can tweak to fit your company.

Step One—Verbal Warning.  Have the employee’s supervisor discuss with the employee the problem that has occurred and the corrective measures that need to be taken. Have another manager sit in on the meeting. Make notes to the file documenting the meeting and problems and have both managers date and sign the entry.

Step Two—Written Warning. Have the employee’s supervisor draft a written warning that states the nature of the violation and the plan for correcting the behavior.  Have the supervisor discuss with the employee the problem that has occurred and the corrective measures that need to be taken. An additional step that might be appropriate is putting the employee on a probationary period. Have another manager sit in on the meeting. Make additional notes to the file documenting the meeting and problems and have both managers date and sign the entry.  Also have the employee date and sign the written warning.

Pink Slip photo (00091068).JPG

Do you have an employee whose performance isn't cutting it? If so, you will want to read this two part series on considerations and steps to take before terminating an employee.

Many employers terminate employees without following some basic procedures that take little effort on the part of the employer but can prevent major headaches later.   Following these rules prior to termination can help employers avoid problems post-employment and can provide a full defense to an employee’s claim of wrongful termination.

If you have an employment agreement with the employee, you will need to follow the provisions governing that agreement.  However, the majority of employees are employees at-will and therefore the following steps and procedures are highly recommended for employers.