Know Your Rights: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Workplace Discrimination
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statistics show workplace discrimination against the LGBT community has hit an all-time high. In 2015, the EEOC recorded 90,000 incidents of workplace discrimination against LGBT workers, a 28 percent increase over the course of one year! However, employers will now have a more difficult time discriminating against LGBT workers.
The EEOC recently argued LGBT workers are protected from discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the same law that protects workers based on sex, gender, national origin and race.
According to the EEOC, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination, and thus falls under the protection of the Civil Rights Act. Specifically, the EEOC’s argument suggests discriminating against workers for failing to conform to certain gender roles counts as sex discrimination.
In fact, the EEOC recently made history by filing its first two discrimination lawsuits against private companies on behalf of LGBT workers using this argument.
How Can Workers Fight Back Against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination?
Like other forms of discrimination, LGBT workers may face wrongful termination, be subject to verbal harassment or be denied promotions based on their sexual orientation. LGBT workers have legal options under both federal and state laws when employers resort to these types of discriminatory tactics. We have already seen the EEOC is willing to file lawsuits against private employers based on sexual orientation discrimination.
Workers can file claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and with the EEOC. Evidence is crucial during discrimination cases, and can help defend affected workers. After obtaining all available evidence and submitting complaints with state and federal agencies, workers should contact a labor law attorney to explore additional legal options.
The Los Angeles labor law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help defend the legal rights of LGBT workers.