The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that interprets and enforces laws prohibiting discrimination, considers sexual orientation a consideration protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A federal judge in Pennsylvania recently agreed.

sexual orientation protected against discrimination

In November, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Bissoon handed down an order denying a motion to dismiss a discrimination case involving a gay former employee of a company, according to the National Law Review.

The employee, with the support of the EEOC, has accused his employer in federal court of harassment in Fairfeild based on his sexual orientation. The worker claimed that the discrimination was so relentless and pervasive that it created a hostile work environment. He ultimately quit his job, the law review article said.

His former boss had argued that while a person’s sex is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, sexual orientation is not. Bissoon disagreed, ruling that discrimination “on the basis of sexual orientation is a subset of sexual stereotyping and thus protected,” the law review wrote.

LGBT advocates in the state hailed the judge’s decision as an important step toward ensuring people are protected against discrimination for sexual orientation by their bosses and colleagues. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to legalize gay marriage solidifies the notion that discrimination based on whether someone is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender should be illegal under the Civil Rights Act along with race, color, national origin, religion and sex.

discrimination warning sign illustration design over a white backgroundIn California, employment discrimination in Fairfield based on sexual orientation is illegal under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. The law protects lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender as well as heterosexuals who believe they are being discriminated against for being straight, according to the government’s website.

Denying someone a job, promotion, wage increase or benefits because of his or her sexual orientation is illegal in California, as is giving a negative performance evaluation for the same reason. Denying job-related training or education because of sexual orientation is also illegal, as is retaliating against an employee because he or she filed a sexual orientation-based discrimination complaint. Such situations create a hostile work environment targeting the person who is LGBT, which also goes against California employment law.

If you feel you are being discriminated against at work, it is important to discuss your concerns with an experienced harassment employment attorney in Fairfeild as soon as possible.

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