The federal government has failed to act on laws that protect employees
against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, but many states
have laws that do give employees these rights. In California, both sexual
orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination is prohibited
in both private and public workspaces. If you are an employer attempting
to craft a fair and legally binding policy for your workplace or an employee
who believes you are being targeted at work because of your sexual orientation,
contact a labor attorney in San Jose, CA, for employment law advice. Here
is what you need to know about this area of
Public vs. Private Workplaces
Federal law prohibits sexual orientation discrimination against employees
of the federal government, and many states have similar laws that protect
public sector employees of state and local governments. On the federal
level, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 has been proposed
to Congress and has been pending since its inception. As this law, which
includes restrictions against sexual orientation discrimination in private
workplaces, has not been passed, there is no federal protection. Employees
must consult with a labor attorney to understand the laws in their state
if they feel they are being discriminated against because of their sexual
Some companies have policies that outlaw sexual orientation discrimination.
These policies can be more severe than the state laws regarding discrimination,
but they cannot be less strict. The state law sets the minimum standard.
If employees violate these policies and discriminate against people based
on sexual orientation, they can be subject to corrective actions and termination.
Employees who feel that their companies are not adhering to their own
guidelines can consult with an attorney to see if they could have a legal case.
Other Discrimination Protections
In some cases, a labor attorney may pursue damages against an employer
for sexual orientation discrimination using another kind of discrimination
claim. For instance, an attorney may file a sexual harassment or defamation
claim for an issue that could also be considered sexual orientation discrimination.