• Whitney Casement

Potential Employer Liability for Homosexuality and Transgender Discrimination

On August 21, 2020, the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) voted to interpret the Kansas Act Against Discrimination definition of "sex" to extend to claims based on homosexuality and transgender status. The decision was made in response to a June 2020 United States Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the Supreme Court interpreted the term "sex," under Title VII to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to include homosexuality and transgender status. In Bostock, an opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court made the following ruling:


Because discrimination on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status requires an employer to intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, an employer who intentionally penalizes an employee for being homosexual or transgender also violates Title VII.


The KHRC brings smaller businesses within the scope of the Bostock ruling. Under the Kansas Act Against Discrimination, employers of four or more employees are subject to the Act; whereas, Title VII applies to employers who have 15 or more employees.


The KHRC took the ruling a step farther by extending the protections to not only employment, but also to housing and public accommodations. More information about the KHRC's decision may be found at www.khrc.net. For the full opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, visit https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-1618_hfci.pdf.


This article is for informational purposes, is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice, and this post does not in any way create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice or representation requests, contact GSEP's employment law team. https://www.gseplaw.com/employment-law-litigation.


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