Konopka, Thomas Provide Guidance for Navigating Complaints from Trans Employees, Fostering Inclusive Workplaces in Law360

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Stinson LLP Partner Pat Konopka and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Ann Thomas authored an article for Law360, "Navigating Harassment Complaints from Trans Employees." Konopka and Thomas highlight the growing need for employers to create safe and inclusive workplace environments as generational shifts and court rulings are expanding worker protections.

Analyzing the recent decision in Copeland v. Georgia Department of Corrections, they emphasize the legal risks involved with complaints of harassment or discrimination. They also provide steps employers can take to create a more inclusive workplace and mitigate the risks of discrimination and harassment claims from transgender and nonbinary employees. This includes updating policies to ensure inclusion of gender identity, amplifying employee and employer education on gender identity, and taking misgendering complaints seriously.

"By establishing clear policies, cultivating a supportive organizational culture through education and taking misgendering complaints seriously, employers can effectively foster gender identity inclusion," they write. "As the legal landscape continues to evolve, companies must remain vigilant and proactive in upholding the rights and dignity of all employees, regardless of gender identity or expression."

Konopka counsels employers on all aspects of employment law and human resources practices and regularly conducts and directs internal investigations of alleged misconduct by employees, as well as claims by employees of harassment or discrimination. She also litigates employment-related lawsuits to help clients resolve disputes effectively and efficiently and regularly advises clients to ensure their employment policies and practices meet legal requirements.

Thomas leads the firm's diversity and inclusion initiatives and institutes best practices and training for attorneys and staff. She works with firm leadership and the board of directors to grow a culture that values all backgrounds and perspectives and to incorporate successful diversity strategies in the firm's strategic planning.

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