Practice Areas

Employee Rights

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination refers to harassment or differential treatment based on someone’s perceived or actual gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or heterosexual orientation.

While the federal government does not presently have a law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, both Minnesota and California are among the states that forbid employers from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation.

The laws also protect employees who are perceived as having a particular sexual orientation, whether that perception is correct or not.

Some employers may be exempt from these laws. For example, religious and certain private organizations, such as churches and the Boy Scouts, may base employment decisions on sexual orientation.

James H. Kaster

Employment Law Attorney
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Potential Sexual Orientation Discrimination

  • You are not hired, denied a promotion, or fired because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, or because your employer perceives you to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual.
  • Your employer has denied you the same health insurance or other benefits that are available to employees of other sexual orientations.
  • Your boss or co-workers constantly make fun of you, harass you, or treat you badly because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, or because they think you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual.
  • Your boss tells you not to discuss your sexual orientation while at work.

**Whether the above examples qualify as illegal discrimination depends largely on the city and state where you work since there is not an overarching federal law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination.

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