Juneteenth National Independence Day is a New Federal Holiday

On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed legislation (SB 475) mandating June 19 as a federal holiday (also referred to as a legal public holiday) to commemorate Juneteenth National Independence Day.

Other federal holidays include:

  • New Year’s Day – January 1
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – January 20
  • Memorial Day – May 31
  • Labor Day – September 6
  • Columbus Day – October 11
  • Veterans Day – November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day – November 25
  • Christmas Day – December 24

Read more about the history of Juneteenth from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in their article, “The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth.”

The law took immediate effect.

New EEOC Resources for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Workplace Rights

On June 15, 2021, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced new resources for employees, applicants, and employers about the rights of all employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers, to be free from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment. These new resources include:

  • A new landing page on the EEOC website with consolidated information about sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
  • A new technical assistance document about the Bostock decision and the EEOC’s positions on the laws it enforces. In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (S. Ct. June 15, 2020), the Supreme Court held that firing individuals because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violates Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex.  
  • Links to EEOC statistics and updated fact sheets with recent EEOC litigation and federal sector decisions about sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. 

The technical assistance document also:

  • Explains the significance of the Bostock ruling;
  • Compiles information about sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in one place;
  • Reiterates the EEOC’s positions on basic Title VII concepts, rights, and responsibilities as they pertain to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and
  • Provides information about the EEOC’s role in enforcing Title VII and protecting employees’ civil rights.

The law forbids sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. Additionally, it is unlawful to subject an employee to workplace harassment that creates a hostile work environment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Harassment can include, for example, offensive or derogatory remarks about sexual orientation (like being gay or straight). Harassment can also include offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's transgender status or gender transition.