Georgia Sex Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Georgia Sex Discrimination: What you need to know

Georgia does not have a comprehensive law that prohibits employment discrimination by private employers in the state. The Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978 prohibits discrimination in public employment based on sex (GA Official Code Sec. 45-19-20 et seq.). The Act applies to any state agency that employs 15 or more employees, but does not apply to private employers.
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Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. Differences in treatment are permissible if gender is a BFOQ for employment. Indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on sex in employment-related advertising is unlawful, unless gender is a BFOQ for the position advertised. These situations are rare, and employers should be cautious when making employment decisions that adversely affect a protected group.
Gender stereotypes. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that discrimination against a transgender employee because of her gender nonconformity is sex discrimination that violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Glenn v. Brumby, 663 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2011)). In this case, a transgender woman who had been hired as a man was fired from her job with the Georgia Legislature because her supervisor considered it "inappropriate" for her to appear at work dressed as a woman. In ruling for the employee, the court pointed out that several circuit courts have ruled that discrimination based on gender stereotypes is sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court noted that a person is defined as transgender "precisely because of the perception that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes."
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