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Understanding Your Rights: Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in the Workplace

As an employee, it is important to understand your rights and stand against discrimination. The team at Nichols Kaster PLLP aims to shed light on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, empowering you with the knowledge and tools necessary to recognize and combat discriminatory treatment.

Discrimination Overall

No person should be subjected to discrimination, harassment, or hostility based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace. These forms of discrimination are not just unjust and unethical; they are illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and many state and local anti-discrimination laws.

In the landmark decision Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), the United States Supreme Court held that discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violates Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex because the employer is discriminating against that individual in part for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. The Court described, as an example, that where an employer terminates a male employee for no reason other than the fact that he is attracted to men, the employer discriminates against that employee for traits or conduct it tolerates from a female colleague attracted to men. Id. at 1741. Similarly, if an employer terminates a person because they were identified as male at birth but now identifies as female and uses female pronouns, the employer is taking action against the individual because of sex since the action would not have been taken but for the fact that the employee was originally identified as male at birth.

Title VII and many state and local laws prohibit employers from making employment decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity, such as hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation. , or subject an employee to workplace harassment that creates a hostile work environment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Taking Action

First, know you have the right to a safe and respectful work environment. Employers are legally obligated to take steps to prevent and respond to discrimination and harassment.

Second, if you experience discrimination or harassment, you can report it and receive legal protection from retaliation. Employers are prohibited from punishing employees for making good faith complaints of discrimination and harassment and for participating in investigations into complaints of the same.

Third, if you've been subjected to discrimination, you have the right to seek recourse. You can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state or local anti-discrimination agency, which can investigate your claim. If they find evidence of discrimination, they may take action against your employer or grant you the right to sue.

Proudly Fighting for People's Rights

Navigating the processes above can be complex and overwhelming. That's where Nichols Kaster PLLP comes in. As experienced employment lawyers, we're here to advocate for your rights, guide you through filing a complaint, and fight for the justice you deserve.

At our firm, we believe in fairness, equality, and justice. We've dedicated our careers to advocating for employees' rights, using our expertise and experience to hold employers accountable and secure justice for victims of discrimination.

If you've experienced discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, don't stay silent. Reach out to Nichols Kaster PLLP. We're here to listen, advise, and act on your behalf, ensuring your voice is heard and your rights are upheld.