Event Title

21st Century Employment Discrimination: LGBT Employees and New Perspectives on Workplace Law

Event Series Title

The Littler Mendelson Employment and Labor Law Lecture

Document Type





As we recognize Title VII’s 50th anniversary, the time is ripe to take stock of employment discrimination law’s current reach and its prospects for the future. The experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees is an especially useful lens for this effort.

In part, employment discrimination has been persistent for LGBT individuals, as for many others, notwithstanding a growing number of civil rights protections, and we need to understand why. Also, the changing body of employment cases related to LGBT rights highlights both the contemporary challenges of bringing all kinds of run-of-the-mill discrimination cases and the promise for meaningful protection we can find in stereotyping jurisprudence. Importantly, too, LGBT employees are right in the midst of growing tensions between antidiscrimination law and religious liberties claims, and from this flash point we can see the major questions – if not yet the answers – that employment discrimination law is likely to face in the coming decade.

Suzanne B. Goldberg, the Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, is a leading national expert in employment law related to sexuality and gender. At Columbia, Goldberg also co-directs the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law and founded and directs the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, the first of its kind in the nation. Goldberg’s scholarship, which focuses on procedural and substantive barriers to equality, has won numerous awards. Her co-authored book, Strangers to the Law: Gay People on Trial, has been hailed for capturing the cultural, political and legal context of the gay rights movement in the 1990s through the lens of the Romer v. Evans trial.

Goldberg was a senior attorney with Lambda Legal, an organization specializing in protecting the rights of LGBT individuals and people with HIV/AIDS. At Lambda, she worked extensively on employment, immigration, education, and family law matters, as well as on challenges to antigay amendments and sodomy laws.

Goldberg graduated with honors from Brown University in 1985, was a Fulbright Fellow at the National University of Singapore, and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School.