Being subjected to harassment or unfair treatment at the workplace due to your sexual orientation or gender identity can not only be emotionally distressing but can also be damaging to your career and professional life. It is not only unethical for employers to discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, but it is now illegal on a federal and state level. In fact, California has some of the strongest protections for workers in the LGBT community.
However, despite the presence of these laws, a section of employers continues to exhibit discriminatory behavior towards members of the LGBTQ community. If you believe that you suffered workplace discrimination or harassment due to your sexual orientation or gender identity, you need to get in touch with an experienced Sherman Oaks LGBT discrimination lawyer to help fight for your rights.
Our top Sherman Oaks employment law attorney at The Fraigun Law Group is committed to upholding the rights of LGBTQ people and protecting them against discrimination and harassment. Call us today at 818-981-1800 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is LGBT Discrimination?
LGBT discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee unfairly or takes some other adverse employment action against them due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s pattern of romantic and sexual attraction to people of a particular sex or gender.
Members of this community include gay men, lesbian women, bisexual men and women, androgenous people, nonbinary people, and transgender people.
LGBT discrimination takes on many forms and can happen at any stage of the employment process including job interviews, hiring, promotions, and job termination.
Here are some common instances of LGBT discrimination:
- Inappropriate questions about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity during an interview.
- Refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Offering inferior wages and benefits to people of a particular sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Demoting or terminating a worker based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Creating or promoting a working environment that is hostile, offensive, or unfavorable to employees belonging to the LGBT community.
LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws in California
Members of the LGBT community are protected against discrimination by certain federal and state laws:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
In 2020, employment discrimination on the basis of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity was made illegal on a federal level under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender. This is after the Supreme Court landmark ruling that discrimination stemming from an individual’s status as a homosexual or transgender violates this law.
You should note that this law only applies to employers with at least 15 employers.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing this law. This means that to file a lawsuit based on the rights provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, you first need to file an official complaint with the EEOC. There are limits to the amount you can recover in compensatory and punitive damages in such cases.
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act
The state of California offers additional protections to members of the LGBT community through the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). This law explicitly prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against employees in all stages of employment. However, this law only applies to employers with 5 or more employees.
The California Department of Employment and Housing (DFEH) is responsible for enforcing this law.
To file a lawsuit based on protections provided by FEHA, you need to file an official complaint with the DFEH.
As opposed to claims filed under Title VII, there are no limits to the amounts recoverable in compensatory and punitive damages in claims based on the FEHA.
LGBT Discrimination Statistics
According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute, anywhere from 16% to 68% of workers in the LGBT community have experienced some form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. The type of harm experienced ranges from missing out on potential employment opportunities to actual physical violence.
- An estimated 7% to 41% of employees in the LGBT community have been verbally or physically abused or had their workplaces vandalized as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- 8%-17% of employees belonging to the LGBT community reported missing employment opportunities or getting terminated as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- 10%-28% of gay and transgender workers complained about receiving a negative performance review due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- 12%-30% of straight workers stated that they personally witnessed discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation.
- Gay males are reported to earn about 10%-32% less on average than equally qualified straight males.
In several controlled experiments, two sets of resumes with similar qualifications were sent to prominent employers, but with one indicating that the applicant is gay. What the experiments revealed is that the employers responded to gay applicants’ resumes far less often than to straight applicants’ resumes.
While gay and transgender rights have come a long way, these statistics strongly suggest that a lot still needs to be done. LGBT discrimination attorneys play a crucial role in the fight for equal rights for people in the LGBT community.
Do I Have a Valid LGBT Discrimination Case?
Most victims of LGBT employment discrimination tend to suffer in silence without knowing that they have legal recourse. For an employer to be held liable for LGBT discrimination in California, at the very least, it should be proven that they violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.
A skilled LGBT discrimination lawyer in Sherman Oaks will be able to assess the specifics of your case, determine whether you have a valid case, and how much it might be worth.
Steps to Take After LGBT Discrimination in the Workplace
If you’ve been a victim of LGBT harassment or discrimination, there are a number of steps that you need to take to protect your rights:
Gather Information and Evidence
The first step to protecting your rights is ensuring that you have evidence and information to protect your claims. Write down the sequence of events surrounding the incident. In addition, collect eyewitness statements, video footage, emails, documents, and files.
Call an Experienced LGBT Discrimination Attorney
You need to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible to give you the best chances of success in your claim. An attorney will assess your case and advise you on the best course of action. An attorney will also ensure that your claim is filed properly and with the right agencies within the set deadlines.
At Fraigun Law Group, it is our belief that no one should be treated unfairly or harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Get in Touch With an Experienced Sherman Oaks LGBT Discrimination Lawyer!
Losing your job or experiencing some form of employment discrimination and harassment because of your sexual orientation or gender identity is completely unacceptable. You are entitled to certain rights that protect you from this kind of treatment due to being gay, bisexual, or transgender.
If you or someone close to you has been the victim of LGBT discrimination, you need to take quick and proper action to protect your rights. This includes hiring an experienced Sherman Oaks LGBT discrimination lawyer.
Our skilled and experienced attorney Marina Fraigun not only helps to stop the discrimination culture in workplaces, but she also helps to ensure that victims of LGBT discrimination get the justice and financial compensation that they deserve.