On August 21, 2020, the Kansas Human Rights Commission (“KHRC”) decided to begin accepting complaints of “sex” discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on an individual’s LGBTQ status under the Kansas Act Against Discrimination (“KAAD”). This decision follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, where the Supreme Court held that Title VII protects individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Notably, the KHRC’s decision expands on Bostock in two important ways. First, the KAAD applies to Kansas employers with four or more employees, whereas Title VII only covers businesses with 15 or more employees. Second, the KHRC’s decision expands protections to individuals alleging discrimination in housing and public accommodations. In an e-mail to interested parties, the KHRC’s Executive Director indicated that formal guidance will be forthcoming.
Kansas employers should contact counsel to determine the impact the KHRC’s decision will have on their business. And, if they haven’t already, Kansas employers should review their anti-discrimination and harassment policies to ensure that sexual orientation and gender identity are included as protected categories.