The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced it will expand the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The announcement is in line with recent Supreme Court holdings, including Bostock v. Clayton County, where the highest court in our country held that discrimination protections should apply when an employer discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
What is the impact of this announcement?
The HHS’ announcement officially puts both the Legislative and Judicial branches of the government on the same page. It also extends the protections granted through the Supreme Court to healthcare-related cases. This will make it easier for patients to receive treatment for diseases that impact the LGBTQ community. Examples include increase access to HIV treatments and transgender healthcare services.
In response to the announcement, the legal director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund stated that although it is a step in the right direction, there is a long way to go until this form of discrimination is truly addressed.
What if I am a victim of sexual discrimination?
This announcement shows that sexual discrimination can cover a wide range of issues. Loss of a job or any form of disparate treatment based on one’s sex, gender identity or sexual orientation is illegal. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) encourages those who are the victim of sexual discrimination to file a Charge of Discrimination. This move can help hold an employer or union accountable for their wrongful actions.
Victims do not have to go through this process alone. Professionals can help advocate for your interests and better ensure you receive the legal remedies you are entitled while also working to hold the wrongdoer accountable for their actions.