Facade of US Supreme court in Washington DC on sunny day

We’ve been hearing a lot about the LGBTQQIA community the past several years as more and more arguments are made that those who fall into this group are protected by Title VII’s prohibitions against sex discrimination.  Several lower courts have split on whether Title VII’s provisions include protection for LGBTQQIA members. The Supreme Court heard arguments regarding this issue on October 8, 2019 and it was unclear as to how the justices were leaning.

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There is no scientific evidence that genetic differences exist in those in the LGBTQQIA community, even though many non-scientists make such claims. Therefore, based on current science, there are only males and females from a genetic perspective. Clearly, there were gays, lesbians and transgender individuals in 1964 when Title VII was enacted, yet there is no evidence that such individuals were considered included in the protections afforded by Title VII.

Law however, is generally a reflection of cultural and societal norms and our culture today is generally more accepting of the LGBTQQIA community.  Our podcast guests and sponsors, Chris Gantt-Sorenson and Perry MacLennan, from the Haynsworth, Sinkler, Boyd law firm, believe the Supreme Court will determine that LGBTQQIA individuals are covered under the ”sex” proviso of Title VII. While I am unsure of the Courts ultimate ruling, I do believe that eventually Congress will pass laws protecting LGBTQQIA members.  This will result in many other issues related to bathroom usage, shower usage and ultimately how Title IX rights will be protected.  Even now, we are seeing the impact of state laws and sports governing body’s rules negatively impacting women’s sports. There is much to work through to make sure everyone’s rights are protected as the courts decide what rights, if any, should be given to members of the LGBTQQIA community.

From an HR perspective, it is important to determine what kind of employer you want to be and what the culture of your organization should be.  I have always opted to promote a respectful workplace, where diversity and inclusiveness are valued and rights are protected, regardless of legal requirements.  Treating others, including members of the LGBTQQIA community, the way we want to be treated generally makes for a happy, productive, inclusive and issue free workplace.

As always, Kelly and I appreciate you listening to Survive HR!  Please feel free to reach out to us if we can serve you in any way!

All the best!

Steve Nail 

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Steve Nail is currently the Dean, College of Business, at Anderson University. He is a labor and employment attorney who began his career with the National Labor Relations Board. Thereafter, he served as Assistant General Counsel for Michelin, including two stints in France, where he worked on the structuring of the European Economic Community and served in the HR and Legal Departments. Later he served as the Vice President of Labor and Employee Relations before moving on to Hubbell where he served as the Vice President of Human Resources. Steve was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve on the SC Healthcare Planning Committee and was reappointed by Governor McMaster in 2018. Steve was named the 2012 South Carolina HR Professional of the Year and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, by the Greenville SHRM chapter. He is a frequent speaker, a published author, and mentor to many in the HR profession. He often coaches individuals and consults organizations on strategic matters. He is a Register Corporate Coach, certified by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and holds SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications.