Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Sexual orientation discrimination is a quickly changing area of law.
In the landmark 2020 case Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court ruled that unlawful discrimination based on "sex" includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (or “Title VII”) affirmatively protects millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans from workplace discrimination. Employers who discriminate against employees on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation can face civil rights lawsuits.
Prior to the decision, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforced Title VII to include discrimination against LGBTQ employees, but the enforcement was subject to change by administrations or courts with different interpretations of the law.
There are also broader and more explicit protections for LGBTQ employees available under state law and in some municipalities like cities and counties, and many private employers have created their own LGBTQ anti-discrimination policies.
Read through the articles in this section for more information on sexual orientation discrimination and keep checking back as this area of law continues to unfold.
Fighting Sexual Orientation Discrimination on the Job
Title VII prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of one's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. That means employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer are part of a protected class entitled to legal recourse when they experience workplace bias.
If you have faced workplace discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, there are steps you can take to strengthen your claim, including collecting and preserving evidence of discrimination, documenting your effectiveness at the job, and understanding your company's workplace policies and protections. A local employment lawyer's assistance can help identify legal remedies and additional steps to pursue a claim.
In addition to having grounds for a civil rights lawsuit on the basis of sex discrimination, other causes of action that may arise from sexual orientation discrimination include negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, battery, invasion of privacy, and defamation.
Laws for the protection of the LGBTQ community are rapidly changing. The Supreme Court, federal government, and an increasing number of states have indicated that they view sexual orientation and gender identity as a constitutionally protected matter of individual privacy rights.
As always, an attorney's assistance can be helpful in determining the current status of the law and your rights.