Gender Identity: Guidance Under Title VII

Last Updated on August 20, 2023

With the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, it was affirmed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, also extends to cover discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. In light of this, it has become increasingly important for employers to ensure they are addressing gender identity effectively and lawfully under Title VII.  Below are some guidelines on ways employers can help ensure they are stay compliant with Title VII.

Understand What Gender Identity Means

At its core, gender identity refers to a person’s deeply held sense of their gender, which may be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth. The gender spectrum includes male, female, transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, among others. It’s crucial to note that gender identity is self-identified and should be respected as such.

Implement Inclusive Non-Discrimination Policies

Non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies must clearly include gender identity and expression. This not only involves ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against because of their gender identity but also extends to the expression of that identity, such as through clothing, hairstyle, or voice.

Respect Names and Pronouns

Employers should honor an employee’s request to be identified by their chosen name and pronouns in the workplace. This respect should extend to all written and verbal communication. Mistakes should be corrected quickly, and repeated intentional misuse should be treated as a form of harassment.

Educate and Train Your Workforce on Gender Identity

Education and regular training are essential to ensure your managers and employees understand gender identity as it relates to Title VII. Training should include information on gender identity and transgender issues, including an understanding of what constitutes discrimination and harassment under Title VII.

Address Complaints Promptly and Effectively

Employers should be prepared to deal with complaints about discrimination or harassment promptly and effectively. The process for handling such complaints should be clear, and employees should be assured that their complaints will be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and resolved without fear of retaliation. The processes should be outlined in the company’s employee handbook to ensure they are available and communicated to all employees.

Provide Equal Opportunities and Benefits

Transgender employees must be treated the same as all other employees under company policies. This includes providing equal opportunities for job assignments, promotions, and benefits.

Ensure Privacy

Maintaining an employee’s privacy is critical for all employees. Information about an employee’s transgender status should be kept confidential unless the employee gives explicit consent for this information to be shared.

Non-compliance with Title VII can result in severe consequences, including litigation and financial penalties, not to mention harm to the company’s reputation. Employers need to foster an environment where all employees, regardless of their gender identity, are valued, respected, and treated fairly. As potential issues arise, it is important that employers have trusted HR resources, such as MyHRConcierge,  to help them navigate them in a compliant manner. Understanding, implementing, and enforcing these guidelines are key to ensuring your company stays compliant with Title VII.

Contact Us To Learn More

To learn more about our HR support for your company and current HR topics, contact us today at 855-5386947 ext 108 or You can also schedule a consultation with us below:


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