Sexual Orientation Discrimination In The Workplace

Sexual Orientation Discrimination In The Workplace

Workplace discrimination is prohibited when it is based on a protected status under both federal and state labor laws. Sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited by many workplaces and states, but there is no current federal law that protects people based on their sexual orientation. If you believe that you have been targeted because of your sexual orientation, the lawyers at Swartz Swidler may be able to help you.

State law

At the state level, sexual orientation discrimination laws exist to combat unfair LGBT workplace issues. Sexual orientation discrimination and gender reassignment discrimination manifest in many ugly forms, including harassment, differential treatment, bullying from other coworkers, retaliatory actions such as unfounded write-ups and wrongful termination. An example of differential treatment is being passed over for a promotion you’re qualified for because of your sexual preference or gender identity. Harassment may include many things, including degrading comments, property vandalism, dehumanization and name calling among others. If harassment is left unchecked, this type of behavior tends to escalate, creating an unbearably hostile work environment. As a result of the discrimination, victims may suffer from emotional duress, severe anxiety, PTSD and a fear of retaliation.

Federal law

There are no current gender reassignment discrimination or sexual orientation discrimination laws at the federal level addressing LGBT workplace issues in private workplaces. Federal employees do have protections against this type of discrimination, however. The Employment Non-discrimination Act of 2009, which would ban sexual orientation discrimination as well as gender reassignment discrimination in the workplace has been on hold in Congress for consideration since that time. The law would have prohibited employers from making job-related decisions for workers based on their sexual orientation during all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, pay, benefits, bonuses and others.

Current state of the law

At this time, a spatter of protection exists for workers across the country. About half of the states prohibit discrimination against workers based on their sexual orientation. New Jersey prohibits it at the state level for private employees but Pennsylvania does not. In Pennsylvania, public employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation but private employers are not.

Company policies

Many companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in order to address LGBT workplace issues. In areas without sexual orientation discrimination laws, workers may still have some protections under their company’s policies. Even if you live in a state that does have these anti-discrimination laws, you should still know what the policies of your company are. If you are discriminated against, follow those policies and procedures for filing a complaint. If nothing is done to correct the situation or you are retaliated against for complaining, you may need to consult with an attorney.

If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination based on you sexual orientation, contact Swartz Swidler to schedule your appointment today. Our experienced employment lawyers can review what occurred and give you an honest assessment of your claim. Acting quickly is important as the law provides stringent deadlines for filing discrimination and other work-related charges.