Sexual orientation is defined as “a person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.” Unfortunately, discrimination against sexual orientation does occur in the workplace, resulting in unfair and unequal treatment of employees.
California state law prohibits sexual orientation discrimination.
In lieu of federal legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, many companies have established their own rules and protections. Many states, along with the District of Columbia, have created their own laws as well. California is one of 21 states that have made sexual orientation discrimination illegal. California also protects from discrimination based on even the perception of a particular sexual orientation. The law is called the Fair Employment and Housing Act or FEHA.
FEHA offers broad protections.
Under the FEHA, workplaces must remain free of discrimination on the basis of gender, gender expression, gender identity (transgendered individuals) or sexual orientation. This discrimination is prohibited in all terms, conditions and privileges of employment, including hiring, firing, training and compensation. And, under this law, employees must take reasonable action to prevent discrimination and harassment of sexual orientation.
How is sexual orientation discrimination proven in court?
#1 – An employee must first show that the employer is covered by the law. The FEHA applies only to employers with five or more employees. So employers with four or fewer full-time or part-time employees would not be covered.
#2 – An employee must show proof that he or she was harmed by the employer due to the unlawful action taken against him or her — and that the employee’s sexual orientation was the motivating reason for the unlawful behavior.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination Cases
If you believe you’re being victimized and harassed at work due to your sexual orientation, contact the employment attorneys of Schwimer Weinstein. Our attorneys are well versed in state and local laws that pertain to your case. And we will do everything we can to help you get the justice you deserve.
We can help. Contact Schwimer Weinstein for a free, no-obligation consultation.