Attitudes and legal protections toward homosexuality and LGBTQ people in general have changed dramatically, for the better, in recent decades. Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment against people who identify as LGBTQ still exist. When it occurs in the workplace, it can threaten both your livelihood and your emotional well-being.
Sexual orientation or LGBTQ employment discrimination and harassment isn't just harmful—it's illegal. This type of discrimination is illegal in all aspects of employment, including hiring, training, pay, advancement, and firing. Both federal and California State laws prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
If you have experienced sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination or harassment in a job interview or at your work, the Law Offices of Joshua Cohen Slatkin can help you hold your employer accountable for their unlawful conduct.
Sexual orientation is protected by provisions in Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, but California State law provides even broader protections for LGBTQ workers. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects job applicants and employees from discrimination or harassment due to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Recognizing Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Harassment in Hiring and Employment
Sexual orientation discrimination and harassment can take a variety of forms in the workplace. While some instances of discrimination are fairly obvious, others can be more subtle. Here are just a few examples of actions that could fall under this category of illegal discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community in the workplace:
- Refusing to hire job applicants due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression
- Denying employees promotions or other advancement opportunities for sexual orientation
- Making salary or job assignment decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity
- Showing preferential treatment to workers of a specific sexual orientation
- Giving workers poor performance reviews for no reason other than their actual or perceived sexual orientation
- Making discriminatory and harassing jokes, comments, insults, threats, or disparaging remarks
- Sending discriminatory emails or text messages
- Circulating discriminatory photos, videos, or memes
- Creating a hostile work environment toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or other LGBTQ employers
Holding an Employer Accountable and Recovering Fair Compensation for Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Harassment
There are a number of options available to help workers hold employers accountable for sexual orientation discrimination and harassment. However, employment law is complex, and there is far too much at stake to go it alone.
Our knowledgeable and highly skilled employment attorneys can help you understand your rights under the law and discuss potential remedies. These may include filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), trying to seek a pre-litigation resolution against your employer, or if that fails, initiating legal action against your employer in court. We will help you gather the essential evidence needed to develop and strengthen your case. We may be able to help you recover compensation for a wide range of damages, including:
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Emotional distress damages
- And other losses available under the law associated with sexual orientation discrimination and harassment
In certain circumstances where the employer's conduct is deemed especially egregious and other legal requirements are met, workers may also be entitled to punitive damages intended to punish the defendant and deter future similar behavior. Punitive damages protect future employees and protect the public from suffering sexual orientation discrimination and harassment.
Wondering which damages may apply to your sexual orientation employment discrimination and harassment case? We can help.
Request a Free Review of Your Case
You have the right to work in an environment that's safe and free from sexual orientation and other forms of LGBTQ discrimination and harassment. If you were targeted for this type of discrimination or harassment in the hiring process or on the job, the Law Offices of Joshua Cohen Slatkin can help you pursue a legal remedy to change the workplace environment and recover financial compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.