Reprinted with permission of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) as it originally appeared: “Testing your LGBTQ I.Q. In the Workplace” ACC Docket 35, no. 3 (April 2017):42-49. © 2017 the Association of Corporate Counsel. All rights reserved. If you are interested in joining ACC, please go to www.acc.com, call 202.293.4103, ext. 360, or email email@example.com.
The social polarization on these topics fuels activist groups – on both sides of every debate – who are mobilizing through legislation, impact litigation, and sometimes, quite effectively, through the court of social (media) opinion. As a result, we are challenged to stay abreast of what seems like daily breaking legal news. We advise our companies or clients, who have the weighty task of establishing a corporate “position” on such topics, through an issues management program or within the context of a corporate social responsibility platform (phrases that were not common vernacular in 1964). We are often called upon to answer questions such as:
- “Do we need to reprint thousands of employee handbooks to include sexual orientation in our antidiscrimination policy?”
- “Do we really have to remodel our bathrooms so they are unisex?”
- “Does the law prohibit us from asking our employees and customers to adhere to our women/men bathroom designations?”
- “How do we support or respond to an employee who is transitioning or to another employee or customer who feels uncomfortable about that?” Before diving into the evolution of Title VII, we should begin with an appreciation of the following related terminology as it has evolved: “LGBTQ” is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning. Sometimes an “I” for intersex or an “A” for ally or asexual are added to this acronym.
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