Have you faced discrimination in the workplace because you identify as LGBTQ? Discrimination over sexual orientation is against the law, but many workers still face harassment and other hardships after their employers learn about their orientation or gender identity.
If you have had to deal with a hostile workplace or lost opportunities, you may have a case against your employer. You should speak to an LGBT Workplace Discrimination Attorney to find out if you can end the unfair treatment you’re experiencing and claim restitution.
Before you speak to a lawyer, it may help you understand what the law says and how a lawyer can help you.
Table of Contents
- What is Workplace LGBTQ Discrimination??
- Examples of LGBTQ Discrimination
- What Protections are there Against LGBTQ Discrimination?
- Making an EEOC complaint about LGBTQ Discrimination
- Filing a discrimination suit
- How can an LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination Attorney Help?
What is Workplace LGBTQ Discrimination?
Workplace LGBTQ discrimination occurs when you are targeted with unfair treatment because of your sexual orientation. Any act that involves termination, demotion, harassment, negative impact to your earnings or interferes with your ability to do your job may qualify as a violation of your rights.
Examples of LGBTQ Discrimination
You may experience many different kinds of discrimination. The law defines violating acts broadly, but the following examples may help you understand if you are facing LGBTQ discrimination:
- You, and possibly other employees, have been terminated (or forced to quit) on the basis of your sexual orientation.
- You, and possibly other employees, have been given poor performance reviews and/or demoted on the basis of your sexual orientation alone.
- You have been passed over for promotion on the basis of your sexual orientation, while other employees have been advanced.
- You, and possibly other employees, have witnessed favorable work assignments being given out on the basis of sexual orientation.
- You have been insulted, bullied, or threatened by employers or coworkers because of your sexual orientation.
- You have been denied work benefits such as insurance because your employer has discovered your sexual orientation.
This is not a complete list of the acts of discrimination that you may experience. Many other acts are also considered a violation of your rights if they seriously impact the terms and conditions of your job or leave you unable to perform your duties.
What Protections are there Against LGBTQ Discrimination?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Sexual orientation and gender identification are considered to fall under the provision against discrimination on the basis of sex.
The law was not always interpreted this way. However, in 2020, the Supreme Court found that the existing provisions applied to gay or transgender individuals. In writing the decision, Judge Gorsuch declared:
“It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating … based on sex,”
Now that LGBTQ employees are fully recognized under Title VII, they are eligible for the complete set of protections that it provides. They may not be discriminated against during the hiring, promotion, or firing process.
Making an EEOC complaint about LGBTQ Discrimination
As part of their EEOC rights, LGBTQ employees have the right to make formal complaints to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) when they believe that they have been wrongfully terminated or suffered some other significant negative impact to the terms and conditions of their employment.
The EEOC is the body responsible for enforcing Title VII provisions. They have broad authority to investigate claims and, in certain cases, pursue claims against violators.
Most employees will benefit from having their own personal attorney help them navigate the EEOC process.
Where time limits permit, many lawyers will recommend that you make complaints to your company or human resources department before contacting the EEOC. If that doesn’t work, making a formal discrimination claim starts with filing a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC.
A charge of discrimination is a signed statement declaring that an employer or other labor organization has engaged in workplace discrimination against you.
Strict time limits apply to EEOC discrimination claims. You need to file a charge within 180 calendar days from the day the last act of discrimination took place.
A charge requires the EEOC to begin an investigation, though they may find that the claim falls outside of their jurisdiction. At the end of an investigation, they may either issue a finding as to whether your employer violated the law or give you a Notice of Right to Sue.
Filing a discrimination suit
If you are provided with a Notice of Right to Sue, you may move forward with a case against your employer. If you win your case, you may be able to claim:
- Reinstatement of any work position you have lost as a result of discrimination
- Damages including the value of lost wages and benefits
- Damages for emotional distress
- Additional punitive damages (these are damages to punish the defendant instead of damages related to your losses)
- Your attorney fees and court costs
Strict time limits apply to the filing of a case after receiving a Right to Sue letter – in most cases, it must be filed within 90 days.
How can an LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination Attorney Help?
An LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination Attorney can help you through the entire process of handling your claim. Attorneys who have experience in this area can help you understand what to expect at each stage.
Your attorney may assist you by:
- Helping you understand if the behavior that you’re experiencing violates the law.
- Drafting and sending a formal letter to your workplace notifying them that their practices may be in violation of the law.
- Helping you structure the claim that you are sending to the EEOC and submission of your Charge of Discrimination.
- Representing you in court during a lawsuit against your employer.
Is it Time to Speak to an LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination Attorney Help?
If you have faced discrimination for your sexual orientation or gender identification that resulted in the loss of your job, or otherwise hurt your earning potential, it may be time to speak to an attorney. It is important to move quickly with discrimination claims because the time limits (statute of limitations) that apply are unusually short.
You can learn more about how a lawyer can help by submitting your information for a confidential review. This is your chance to get answers to all of your questions and to find out what might be possible if you choose to move forward with a claim.
Contact us today to learn more about your rights and how to protect them.