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  • Laura the Labor Lawyer

Using Your Colleague’s “Preferred Pronouns”

Can you be fired for not using your colleague's "preferred pronouns”?


Legally, yes. In its 2020 Bostock decision, the Supreme Court expanded protections under federal civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This decision perverted the original meaning of the Civil Rights Act, which refers only to “sex,” and was intended to protect women from discrimination and harassment at work.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the government agency tasked with enforcing the Civil Rights Act. Under the Biden administration, the EEOC has been pushing the LGBTQIA+ agenda as one of its top priorities. Regarding pronouns specifically, the EEOC has stated, “Although accidental misuse of a transgender employee’s preferred name and pronouns does not violate Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act], intentionally and repeatedly using the wrong [sic] name and pronouns to refer to a transgender employee could contribute to an unlawful hostile work environment.”


In other words, refusing to use “preferred pronouns” is potentially unlawful, putting both you and your employer at risk of legal action. This is a sufficient basis for your employer to fire you.

There is a catch, however. The Civil Rights Act also prohibits discrimination based on religion.

There is a catch, however. The Civil Rights Act also prohibits discrimination based on religion. This includes the requirement to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs, if the accommodation does not constitute an undue hardship.


So if you have a religious objection to using non-biological pronouns, you can request accommodation. The employer (generally Human Resources) would then need to engage in an “interactive process” or dialogue with you, to determine whether the accommodation can be granted without undue hardship.


Your employer, under pressure from wokeism and its legal department, will likely find that overlooking your “unlawful” conduct is an undue hardship. But making the request for accommodation is one way for you to fight back.


It will also buy more time to look for your next position, on RedBalloon.work.

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