Not Allowing a Man to Use the Women’s Bathroom, Using the Wrong Pronouns May Soon Be Considered “Harassment” for Employers

by Fred Lucas at

(The Daily Signal)—Under new federal guidelines, an employer would be guilty of harassment for requiring someone to use a restroom that comports with his or her biological sex, or for referring to someone by a pronoun the person doesn’t want used.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published the guidance on Monday. The guidance passed on a 3-2 vote, along party lines on Friday, a source familiar with the EEOC confirmed.

“Harassing conduct based on sexual orientation or gender identity includes … repeated and intentional use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual’s known gender identity (misgendering) or the denial of access to a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility consistent with the individual’s gender identity,” the new enforcement guidance says.

The guidelines would affect most employers, private or public.

The EEOC announced last fall it a proposed update of its harassment policy affecting to include sexual orientation and gender identity rules. This prompted opposition from 20 state attorneys general, led by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.

In November, the attorneys general contended what was then the proposed “Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace” updates would threaten the First Amendment rights of employers, employees, and possibly customers.

“Here, the proposed guidance would require employers to affirm or convey to employees and customers—often against religious conviction or deeply held personal belief—messages that a person can be a gender different from his or her biological sex, that gender has no correlation to biology, or that they endorse the use of pronouns like ‘they/them,’ ‘xe/xym/xyrs,’ or ‘bun/bunself,” the letter from the attorneys general says.

“This mandate flouts First Amendment freedoms of religion and speech—yet EEOC rejects any role for accommodation of contrary religious beliefs or speech,” the attorneys general add. “Further, EEOC’s for-cause insulation from direct presidential supervision unconstitutionally blurs the lines of accountability for this overhaul of workplaces nationwide.”

In 2021, EEOC Chairwoman Charlotte Burrows attempted, in a statement, to unilaterally include these actions under harassment without public comment or a vote by the full commission. However, a federal court in Tennessee enjoined the guidance from going forward in 2022. A separate federal court in Texas vacated Burrow’s guidance altogether. The commission did not appeal the rulings.