The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled in a landmark decision that Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination is broad enough to encompass discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status. Faced with a complaint that an employee of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was fired for revealing her transgender status, the Commission made clear that discrimination based on sex includes discrimination based on gender - and gender encompasses not just a person's biological sex at birth, but also "the cultural and social aspects associated with masculinity and femininity."
This year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued enforcement guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions. The EEOC warns employers that considering an applicant's criminal records could lead to disparate treatment or disparate impact claims. In a disparate treatment case, the employee would have to show that the employer treated people in different protected classes (like those of different races) differently when considering criminal records. An example of this would be an employer running a criminal background check only on non-White applicants. In disparate impact claims, the employer's neutral policy toward all applicants would have to show that it has a disproportionately negative effect on people in a particular protected class (i.e., a person of a specific race).