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What You Need to Know About Sexual Orientation Discrimination at Work


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 employment law . employee - discrimination

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 orientation.

Company Policies

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.