The human resource department is one of the sectors that is guided by employment laws. Failure to abide by these laws may lead to organizations suffering from long-standing court battles. The federal and state government are tasked with drafting most of these laws. As a result, organizations are needed to follow them while conducting their activities in various aspects, including recruitment of employees, placements, conducting developmental aspects, and compensating employees (Mallory et al., 2020). Based on such aspects, individuals working in the H.R. department need to ensure that they have a comprehensive understanding of relevant H.R. laws to prevent them from engaging in prohibited actions. Being compliant with the employment laws is crucial since its shields both the employer and employee by ensuring that they are bound to operate within frameworks that support a positive working environment (Mallory et al., 2020). Organizations must also adopt policies and procedures that are per state and federal laws (Mallory et al., 2020). Organizations that do not follow some of these outlined measures will find themselves paying hefty fines and undertaking numerous legal proceedings on some occasions. In 2020, Clayton County found itself in a lengthy court battle for failing to uphold one of the employment laws. This essay, therefore, seeks to expound on the Bostock V Clayton County case and how it relates to the larger employment laws.
Introduction to the employment law case.
Bostock V. Clayton County, 590 is one of the cases involving the rights of employees irrespective of their sexual orientation. In this case, Gerald Bostock: the plaintiff, was fired by his employer because he has shown interest in one of the softball leagues at his place of work. As a result, Bostock filed a petition complaining that his employer unfairly dismissed him from work. During the Supreme Court ruling, a groundbreaking ruling was made affirming that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 safeguards all the employees working in any organization against discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
Title VII is one of the essential legislation affecting how Human resource departments should operate. This Act discourages the discrimination of employees based on a wide range of factors, including race, complexion, religious affiliation, sex, and national origin. This Act further compels employees to follow and document fairness practices related to retaining, paying, job privileges, and all undertakings linked to human resource management. Using the requirements outlined in Title VII of the employment Act, it is evident that Bostock was unfairly dismissed from work by his employer due to his sexual orientation.
This case primarily involved an employee firing a long-serving employee because of being transgender or homosexual. In this case, Gerald Bostock, the plaintiff, was serving as the Child welfare services coordinator in Clayton County. While serving in child welfare services, Bostock was involved in a softball league: mainly proving recreational services to gay people (Mallory et al., 2020). Due to his involvement in gay softball, Bostock was openly criticized, especially with some people who had influence in the Clayton Court system. The massive negative criticism resulted in Bostock’s contract being terminated in June 2013 (Mallory et al., 2020). The reason for his termination was that he was developing unbecoming conduct to the county employees. However, Bostock denied engaging in any gross misconduct and was unfairly dismissed from work due to his sexual orientation (Mallory et al., 2020).
Following the termination, Bostock filed charges against Clayton County, stating that his termination from work failed to follow Title VII of the employment Act 1964. In a move to protect itself, Clayton County moved to the Court, stating that title VIII did not protect Bostock or any other person against being discriminated against due to their sexual orientation (Mallory et al., 2020). The federal judge magistrate, however, dismissed this case. The U.S. District Court also affirmed the dismissal of the Court. Bostock moved to the Supreme Court, whereby it made a hallmark ruling that Title VII does not allow the discrimination of employees based on their sexual orientation (Mallory et al., 2020).
Current Research/ Law.
Title VII is one of the legislations that was consolidated into law due to the civil rights association. Having been suggested by John. F. Kennedy, the law was passed as a way of combatting racial discrimination and segregation. Title VII offers a wide range of provisions, especially regarding equal employment opportunities. One of its main provisions that is coded 42 U.S.C S2000e-2(a) (1), states that it is illegitimate to hire or dismiss employees on the basis of their race, complexion, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or origin (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2018). To ensure that companies and organizations reinforced this provision, Tittle VII formulated the Equal Employment Commission (EEOC), a federal organization whose primary purpose was to oversee and report cases that were believed to be going against this law. Subsequently, cases that fall under Title VII have been constantly refined to ensure that it captures every aspect of employment in organizations (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2018).
Before the emergence of Bostock’s case, a dispute existed concerning whether Civil rights gave the federal defense against employment unfairness of the LGBTQ. Most states since 1973 acted in accordance with their capacity, especially in relation to the protection of LGBTQ against discrimination. As a result, by the end of 2020, when the Bostock ruling was made, approximately 21 states had included the LBBTQ class as one group of individuals who needed protection against discrimination in the workplace. With such amendments being made, Bostock believed that his dismissal from work was unfair and was only based on his sexual orientation. Title VII of the employment Act outlaws the discernment of employees based on their complexion, religious background, sexual orientation or origin (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2018). The law states, “It will be an illegal practice of an establishment to fail or decline to appoint or release any person or victimize against any individual in relation to the payment terms, conditions or privileges of service due to their race, complexion or origin.” (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2018). Following this provision, Bostock believed that he had not conducted any misconduct and he needed to be reinstated back to work. With this reasoning, he decided to file a petition at the U.S. District court.
Explanation of how this topic related to the Employment Law.
The case involving Bostock and Clayton County relates to the employment law because it relates to the discrimination of employees based on their sexual orientation. For a long time, the LGBTQ class of employees has failed to enjoy equal rights like their heterosexual counterparts. Most of them have failed to secure employment opportunities and even be promoted to higher organizational positions due to their sexual orientation. The continued discrimination of their class has resulted in pervasive and negative impacts on their general welfare. For instance, from Bostock’s point of view, his interest in a softball for gays resulted in this employment being terminated. According to a report released by the Centre of American Progress, approximately 8 to 17 percent of LGBTQ are denied employment opportunities due to their sexual orientation. Most of them are discriminated against because some organizations believe that no law or provision in the constitution protects them (Mallory et al., 2020).
When analyzing Bostock’s case, it applies to Title VII provisions because it extends beyond firing and hiring employees. The provisions in this statute outline that it is illegal to refuse or discriminate against any employee because of their compensation, terms, or privileges of employment (Mallory et al., 2020). Before Bostock made it official that he was transgender, he enjoyed all the privileges in the organization he was working for. However, shortly after Bostock made his announcement, he was fired. Apart from his sexual orientation, no other factor could have contributed to him being terminated from his place of work. As a result, Bostock’s case directly relates to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Subsequently, Bostock’s case offers a foundation for analyzing the extent to which Title VII can be executed.
Suggestions to Prevent the Problem/suggestions of Best Practices.
The LGBTQ forms a substantial number of employees in the American workforce. Approximately 8 million employees in the U.S. as being members of the LGBTQ class. Despite the significant contributions that they make in the workplace, discrimination and harassment have prevented them from prosperity (Mara et al., 2018). The constant discrimination has also predisposed some of them to suffer from mental health disorders. According to a study conducted by Mara et al. (2018), discrimination against LGBT individuals is a problem widely practiced in different countries, including the United States. Approximately 40 percent of individuals report being receiving unfair treatment from their employers. The 40 percent acknowledge that they are discriminated against in respect to employment, compensation, promotion. 31.1 percent also noted that they have been experiencing harassment in the past five years, although no measures are taken upon reporting (Mara et al., 2018).
In general, approximately 8.9 percent of this group of people reported that upon seeking employment opportunities, they were either turned away or fired because of their sexual orientation (Mara et al., 2018). Due to the constant discrimination, individuals who belong to this class would either hide their identities to avoid the constant discrimination and harassment that some of their peers were going through. With the continued discrimination of this group, a wide range of strategies have been proposed to help address this problem (Mara et al., 2018).
Although no shortcut can be followed to help end this vice, one of the strategies that can be adopted included beginning by educating the general public about the importance of treating every person equally irrespective of their sexual orientation. Some people engage in this vice because they do not understand its long-term consequences (Mara et al., 2018). However, through education, they can become enlightened on why they should embrace every individual with respect and moral empathy. The second strategy that can be adopted is by establishing collaborations across the different departments. Collaborations are an effective strategy since they will lay a foundation for understanding the needs of every employee and strive towards proving services geared towards meeting these needs (Mara et al., 2018). The last strategy entails engaging in social dialogues between the government, employers, and employees on how they can advance the opportunities of the LGBT group of employees. The current laws should also be repelled to accommodate the LGBT class. Some of the current laws support discrimination and harassment against this group. As a result, repealing them will ensure that any clauses supporting the discrimination of any group are eliminated (Mara et al., 2018).
In Bostock’s case, his employees should have started by understanding his sexual orientation and learning how they could adjust the work environment to fit him. Bostock was perfectly providing services in Clayton County: meaning he was competent in his field of service. As a result, his sexual orientation was the only thing that led to his termination. However, if his employers understood who he was and what they needed to facilitate his working, it would have prevented his firing and Clayton County’s involvement in legal proceedings from the District Court to the Supreme Court.
How these Issues impact my role as a potential H.R. professional.
Discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation is a vice that is currently being discouraged. As a human resource manager, one must adhere to the stipulated employment laws, especially Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Subsequently, as individuals working in the H.R. department, it is vital to maintain positive working relationships with their employees (Guerin & Barreiro, 2019). From the hiring, contracts, working conditions pay, among others, Human resource managers must ensure that they develop an environment that maintains a positive work environment despite employees having different religious backgrounds, color or sexual orientations (Guerin & Barreiro, 2019).
Maintaining the welfare of employees in an organization is one of the primary tasks that the Human resource department needs to uphold. However, when this department does not follow some of the stipulated laws, it may lead to non-compliance issues which in the long run affects an organization’s reputation (Guerin & Barreiro, 2019). To prevent the emergence of some of these consequences, organizations need to ensure that they monitor any legal changes and adopt policies that do not advocate for the discrimination of employees (Guerin & Barreiro, 2019). For instance, a policy that advocates for the equal treatment of all employees should be implemented and communicated to all the senior managers and employees in an organization. In addition, training that educates individuals about the importance of being sensitive to people from different backgrounds should also be adopted. Incorporating all these measures will lay a foundation for the equal treatment of all employees, no matter their backgrounds and sexual orientation.
Discussion Question for other Students.
Discrimination in the workplace is an aspect that has continued to hurt the reputation of most organizations. Despite Title VII clearly outlining that workers should not be discriminated against in any way, some organizations still go ahead and conduct this vice, especially in denying the LGBT their legal rights. Having raised these aspects, two questions can be used to further discuss this case’s legal aspects. The first question states: What measures can be instituted to ensure that organizations do not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964? The second question relates to: How does violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 affect the general wellbeing of employees?
Discrimination, harassment, and unfair dismissal from work are some of the common challenges affecting the human resource department. Unfortunately, despite the existence of laws protecting all employees from discrimination, some people from the LGBT class continue to suffer in silence. Bostock’s case is one example that shows how certain states do not uphold the rights of all employees. Additionally, some organizations do not understand the extent to which specific provisions in Title VII should be exerted. As a result, it is vital that the government, in collaboration with different stakeholders, should join hands in crafting laws that will facilitate equal representation and protection regardless of your background.
Guerin, L., & Barreiro, S. (2019). The essential guide to federal employment laws. No.
Mallory, C., Vasquez, L. A., & Meredith, C. (2020). Legal protections for LGBT people after Bostock v. Clayton County. https://escholarship.org/content/qt1h88n2d8/qt1h88n2d8.pdf
Mara, L. C., Ginieis, M., & Brunet-Icart, I. (2021). Strategies for Coping with LGBT Discrimination at Work: a Systematic Literature Review. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 18(2), 339-354. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13178-020-00462-w
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2018). Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964.