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Advocating for Equality: Los Angeles Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer for Claims

In California, employees have the right to be free from sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. State and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants and current employees based on their sexual orientation, and employers in California have a duty to protect their employees from harassment by their superiors and coworkers. Contact a Los Angeles sexual orientation discrimination lawyer for help with your claim today. 

If you have experienced employment-related discrimination based on your sexual orientation (or someone else’s perception of your sexual orientation), you should talk to a lawyer about filing a claim. There is no excuse for what you have experienced, and filing a claim can help you cope with the effects of your experience. Holding employers accountable can also help prevent similar instances in the future—not only for you but for others who might otherwise fall victim to discrimination as well.

What Does the Law Say About Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace?

Today, the law regarding sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is clear: It is not permitted under any circumstances. In California, discrimination based on a job applicant’s or current employee’s sexual orientation is treated similarly to other forms of discrimination (i.e., race-based and sex-based discrimination), meaning that individuals can—and should—file claims to hold employers accountable.

1. Federal Laws on Sexual Orientation Discrimination at Work

At the federal level, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains:

“On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its landmark decision in the case Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . . . includes employment discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation . . . . Therefore, the Supreme Court held that Title VII makes it unlawful for a covered employer to take an employee’s sexual orientation . . . into account in making employment-related decisions.”

Title VII applies to private-sector employers in California that have 15 or more employees. It also applies to state and local government entities with 15 or more employees, and it applies to all agencies of the federal government. Title VII protects job applicants and current employees, and individuals who have lost their jobs due to their sexual orientation (or their perceived sexual orientation) can file claims as well.

Under Title VII, covered employers are prohibited from engaging in all forms of discrimination based on a job applicant’s or current employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Hiring, job positions and job assignments
  • Compensation, benefits and other terms of employment
  • Promotion and pay raises
  • Access to training, work locations, and work opportunities
  • Termination of employment

The federal prohibition on sexual orientation discrimination also requires covered employers to maintain workplaces that are free of harassment. Harassment can be physical, verbal or visual in nature, and it can involve acts committed by executives, supervisors, managers, peers and other coworkers.

2. California Laws on Sexual Orientation Discrimination at Work

In addition to the protections afforded under Title VII, employees in California also enjoy the protections of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). While Title VII applies to private, state and local employers with 15 or more employees, the FEHA applies to employers with five or more employees. As a result, even if you aren’t protected under Title VII because you work for a small company, you may still be able to file a claim under the FEHA.

The prohibitions under Title VII and the FEHA are similar. This means that employers covered under the FEHA cannot make any employment-related decisions based on a job applicant’s or current employee’s sexual orientation. It also means that eligible employees can file claims against their employers when they experience harassment on the job. Some examples of discriminatory acts that can justify claims under the FEHA include:

  • Asking about a job applicant’s sexual orientation
  • Making jokes about an employee’s sexual orientation
  • Calling someone gay because they refuse a coworker’s sexual advances
  • Suggesting that employees use their sexual orientation to gain favor with customers or clients
  • Passing over employees for pay raises, promotions or other opportunities based on their sexual orientation
  • Allowing employees to create a hostile work environment for a coworker of a particular sexual orientation
  • Firing employees who come out as gay, bisexual or sexually fluid
  • Retaliating against employees who report sexual orientation discrimination

Unfortunately, these are just examples. While we have come a long way, bigotry and negative perceptions toward individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and who have fluid sexuality are still far too common. If you have experienced sexual orientation related to employment, or if you have any reason to suspect that you may be a victim of discrimination, you should absolutely speak with a lawyer about your legal rights.

Should I File a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim Under Title VII or California’s FEHA?

If you have experienced employment-related sexual orientation discrimination, whether you should pursue a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or California’s FEHA depends on your individual circumstances. When you schedule a consultation at Attorneys For Employees, one of our lawyers will sit down with you to discuss your options and help you make an informed decision about how to move forward. This consultation is completely confidential, and we will not take any action on your behalf without your explicit approval.

Discuss Your Claim with Los Angeles Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer Today

If you would like to speak with an attorney about filing a sexual orientation discrimination claim under Title VII or California’s FEHA, we invite you to get in touch. We will arrange for you to speak with one of our attorneys over the phone or in person as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 310-601-1330 or tell us how we can reach you online today.