Top Ohio Sexual Orientation Lawyer Answer: Can I be fired just because I’m gay? Does the law protect gay or other LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination? Do I have to listen to my boss make comments about my sexual orientation?
Given the relatively recent progress advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) rights, the employment attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm have often blogged about LGBT issues in the workplace and about employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. (See Can I Be Fired Because I’m Gay/Lesbian? – Call The Right Attorney; Can My Employer Lock Me Out Of The Restrooms/Bathrooms?; Can I Be Fired For Marrying A Person Of The Same Sex?; and Can I Be Fired For Gender Transitioning?)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race/color, religion, gender/sex, and national origin. However, Title VII does not explicitly mention sexual orientation as a protected category. This hasn’t stopped the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) – the federal agency in charge of enforcing anti-discrimination laws – from bringing a campaign to advance LGBT rights in the workplace. (See Should I File With The EEOC Or Should I Get My Own Lawyer?; Top Employment Law Attorney: Do Not File With The EEOC Without Doing This First…; Should I File With The EEOC On My Own? No, Get A Lawyer!; Will The EEOC Stop Discrimination Against Me? Unlikely!).
Like our employment discrimination lawyers have been doing for the last decade in suing employers for the homophobic acts of bosses, managers, and supervisors, the EEOC has begun filing a series of lawsuits against private employers which the agency believes has discriminated against an employee or employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or LGBT status. Even though Title VII does not explicitly mention sexual orientation as a protected category, the EEOC has taken the position that sexual orientation discrimination falls under the gender discrimination category. This is because sexual orientation discrimination punishes employees based on the gender of who they have sexual or intimate relationships with.
One sexual orientation discrimination brought on behalf Yolanda Boone against Pallet Companies, d/b/a IFCO recently settled. In this case out of the U.S. Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, the employee’s male supervisor continually harassed her because the employee was a lesbian. Her boss made several comments about the employee’s appearance (and which tied into the employee’s sexual orientation), including “I want to turn you back into a woman” and “you would look good in a dress.” The supervisor also made sexually suggestive gestures to the employee. Once the employee reported these incidents to management, she was fired. In turn, she filed a claim for wrongful termination.
While this case was not decided on by the courts, and instead settled among the parties, the settlement goes beyond monetary relief for the employee – $220,000. As part of the settlement, the defendant-company will have to implement a training program for its managers, supervisors, and employees on LGBT workplace issues. Further, the company will now have to establish written policies related to equal employment opportunity issues and make them readily available to all its employees.
While sexual orientation still isn’t explicitly protected under federal anti-discrimination in employment laws, the tide has clearly turned towards protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees from discrimination.
If you are searching “I need a lawyer because I have was wrongfully fired or terminated today;” or “I have been discriminated against because I am …” gay, a lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer; or even think that you might need an employment law lawyer that works with LGBTQ employees, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Your employment rights are constantly changing and the best way to find out if you can sue your boss, manager, supervisor or employer for discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination is to call Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and talk to its attorneys, who are experienced and dedicated to protecting the rights of employees just like you.
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