Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is an unacceptable practice that can create a hostile environment for employees. Understanding your rights and knowing the steps to address such discrimination is crucial.

At PLBH, we are dedicated to helping individuals navigate these challenges and secure a fair and inclusive workplace. Call us at (800) 435-7542 for a legal consultation.

Recognizing Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfairly or harassed due to their sexual orientation. This can manifest in various forms, from subtle biases to overt hostility.

Common Forms of Discrimination

  • Hiring and Promotion Bias: Refusing to hire or promote someone because of their sexual orientation.
  • Workplace Harassment: Subjecting an employee to offensive jokes, slurs, or derogatory comments about their sexual orientation.
  • Unequal Treatment: Providing different terms and conditions of employment based on sexual orientation.
  • Retaliation: Punishing an employee for reporting discrimination or advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.

Legal Protections Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Employees are protected by both federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, ensuring a safe and respectful workplace.

Federal Protections

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Interpreted by the Supreme Court to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Enforces federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination, including sexual orientation discrimination.

California State Protections

  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): Offers comprehensive protections against sexual orientation discrimination and mandates that employers take proactive measures to prevent such practices.

Steps to Take if You Experience Discrimination

If you believe you are a victim of sexual orientation discrimination, taking specific steps can help you protect your rights and build a strong case.

Document the Incidents

Keep detailed records of all incidents, including dates, times, locations, and descriptions. Note any witnesses who may have observed the behavior. Collect any relevant emails, messages, or documents that support your claims.

Report the Discrimination

Notify your supervisor or human resources department about the discrimination. Use your company’s established procedures for reporting such incidents. If your supervisor is involved in the discrimination, report to higher management or HR.

Seek Legal Advice

Consult with an experienced employment lawyer who can provide guidance on your rights and the best course of action. At PLBH, we offer confidential consultations to help you understand your options and pursue justice.

Filing a Complaint with Government Agencies

If internal reporting does not resolve the issue, you can file a complaint with relevant government agencies.

Filing with the DFEH

  • Submit a Complaint: File online, by mail, or by phone.
  • Investigation Process: The DFEH will investigate your claim to determine if there is sufficient evidence.
  • Resolution Attempts: If evidence supports your claim, the DFEH may attempt to resolve the issue through mediation or legal action.

Filing with the EEOC

  • Submit a Charge: File a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
  • Investigation and Mediation: The EEOC will investigate and may offer mediation services.
  • Possible Legal Action: If necessary, the EEOC may pursue a lawsuit on your behalf.

Potential Remedies for Discrimination

Successful claims can lead to various remedies aimed at addressing the harm caused by sexual orientation discrimination.

  • Financial Compensation: You may receive damages for emotional distress, lost wages, and other related losses.
  • Policy Changes: Employers may be required to implement new policies and training programs to prevent future discrimination.
  • Job Reinstatement: If you were terminated as a result of the discrimination, you might be reinstated to your former position.

Promoting Inclusivity and Respect

Taking action against sexual orientation discrimination is not only about protecting your rights but also about fostering a more inclusive and respectful workplace. At PLBH, we are committed to supporting employees in their fight against discrimination and ensuring that their rights are protected. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us at (800) 435-7542.