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LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER   & QUEER {LGBTQ}

Despite recent advances, people in this country are still being fired, harassed and targeted at work because they are LGBTQ.  If you’ve been discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (in hiring, firing, promotion, benefits, or work conditions), you have rights.  Call our hotline at (888) 833-4363 and someone from our legal team will be able to speak with you and discuss your situation.

There has been progress over the past twenty years in the legal landscape and in the evolution of social opinions and attitudes related to an individual’s sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression.  Nonetheless, members of the LGBTQ community still suffer pernicious and blatant gender bias in all areas of public and private life, including housing, employment, opportunities in academic settings, in the ability to buy goods and services, and in the opportunities to participate meaningfully in our society's decision making processes.

 

There is a growing number of laws around the country being enacted under the guise of religious freedom that curtails – even eliminates – the rights of LGBTQ individuals. Furthermore, homophobia and discomfort with individuals who do not conform to antiquated stereotypes of sex and gender often manifests into heinous discrimination against these individuals.  Nearly 41% of gay and lesbian adults face some form of hostility or harassment on the job, including being fired or forced to quit because of their sexual orientation.  

Although federal laws protect people from workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability, there is no federal law that specifically outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by private employers.  However, over the years, there has been more legal support for finding that Title VII's prohibition against "sex" discrimination also covers sexual orientation discrimination. The reasoning is that sexual orientation discrimination necessarily involves gender-based stereotypes of how men and women should behave and with whom they should be in romantic relationships. 

There is more definitive protection offered at the state level.  More than 20 states and the District of Columbia have laws that expressly prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in private jobs.  If you identify as an LGBTQ individual and your state does not have a law that protects you from workplace discrimination, you may still be protected by city and county ordinances.  New York City, for instance, has broad protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and strongly prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression.  Similarly, New York State, which recently passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)deems gender identity and gender expression a protected class under the State's human rights and hate crimes laws.

 

Coalitions and advocates at the federal level are working toward passing the proposed Equality Act, which would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people by including sexual orientation and gender identity as protected statuses under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among other federal laws.

 

GELC strongly supports the passage of The Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education, public spaces and other areas.

LAWS & LINKS

Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment

EEOC Protections for LGBT Workers

The Equality Act

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)

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RESOURCES 

ARTICLES & DOWNLOADS