In June of 2020, The United States Supreme Court, in a historic ruling, sided with LGBTQ Americans saying that “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Sexual orientation discrimination still occurs in the workplace even with these legal changes. Knowing what your rights are as an employee in New York state will help you lead a safe and successful career.
What is sexual orientation discrimination?
Sexual orientation discrimination occurs in the workplace when a person is treated unfavorably because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, or the sexual orientation of a person or a group they are associated with.
Discrimination may be obvious, such as being denied a job or fired on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. Discrimination can also occur from what seems to be a neutral policy adopted by a company that has disproportionate adverse effects on workers with a specific sexual orientation.
In addition to these adverse employment consequences, discrimination may occur via harassment, solely based on sexual orientation.
Signs of Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Sometimes it can be difficult to show that discrimination based on sexual orientation is occurring. However, there are signs to be mindful of:
- Harassment due to actual or perceived sexual/gender orientation
- Not hiring an applicant because they are LGBTQ
- Denying an employee a promotion or raise because they identify as part of the LGBTQ community
- Firing an employee who comes out
- Terminating an employee who is transitioning
- Denying access to a restroom to a transgender employee
- Harassing a transgender employee by refusing to use their new name or pronoun
- Denying an LGBTQ employee spousal health insurance benefits
Laws Protecting Employees From Sexual Orientation Discrimination
In New York State, there are various laws protecting employees from sexual orientation discrimination.
- Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA): Prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and the exercise of civil rights.
- Human Rights Law: As a result of legal changes within federal and state statutes, the New York Human Rights law now includes discrimination based on gender stereotyping to be prohibited, including in “unlawful gender stereotyping (that) often manifests itself as anti-gay epithets or attributing a particular sexual orientation to people who do not conform to gender stereotypes.”
- Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA): Prohibits discrimination against transgender persons in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit.
In addition to these state laws, sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited under Executive Order 13087 of 1998; the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC); and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Contact The New York City Sexual Orientation Discrimination Attorneys Today
No matter your race, sex, gender identity, sexuality, or age, you are legally entitled to a safe work environment with equal opportunities and rights. But when your employer discriminates against you because of your sexual orientation, you deserve justice. Let us elevate your voice.
If you believe that you were a victim of employment discrimination because of your sexuality or gender identity, call Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP today.