Out Leadership member law firm Littler Mendelson, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice, has released a number of recommendations for companies seeking to avoid civil rights lawsuits over LGBT discrimination.
While there is not currently a federal law banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, in the last year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has interpreted certain Title VII protections on the basis of sex as being inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. As such, employees in those states that do not protect LGBT+ workers might still be able to take discrimination complaints to the EEOC.
To protect against lawsuits, Littler recommends that companies review and revise anti-harassment policies, incorporate nondiscrimination best practices for LGBT+ into training, use gender-neutral language in employee handbooks, and make sure health insurance offerings meet federal guidelines. Littler Shareholder Mark Phillis told Fortune in an email statement, “by making it clear that discrimination against LGBT+ employees is prohibited, employers will better position themselves to recruit not only the population that identifies as LGBT+, but also other candidates, particularly millennials, who expect to work in a diverse and inclusive workplace.”