Steps LGBTQ+ Workers Can Take If They Are Experiencing Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination of any kind is unlawful in the workplace. The fight against employers that discriminated in the workplace ramped up in 1964 when the United States Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Tucked into the legislation is a section called Title VII, which prohibits employers from discriminating based on several factors, including race, gender, and sexual orientation. Many states have boosted the protections granted by Title VII, as well as added protection for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Do not allow your employer to discriminate against you. Speak with an employment attorney to discuss your legal options.
How Do Employers Discriminate Against LGBTQ+ Workers?
Members of the LGBTQ+ community face many of the same types of discrimination that other workers face. For example, your employer cannot terminate you because of your sexual orientation, nor can your employer make an example out of you because a manager does not approve of your lifestyle. If your employer has fired or disciplined you because of your sexual identity, you have a right to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Discrimination in the workplace can also involve singling you out for harassment because of your sexual identity. None of your fellow workers has the right to verbally abuse you in any way. You also do not have to put up with threatening emails and other forms of hostile communication. Another way an employer discriminates is by giving lower performance reviews to members of the LGBTQ+ community based on their sexual or gender orientation.
How Do You File a Discrimination Claim?
Before you initiate any type of legal action, you should ask to meet with your human resources manager to discuss your concerns. The HR manager might conduct an investigation that leads to the discipline of the employees that have discriminated against you. If your HR manager refuses to address your concerns, the next step involves filing a claim with the EEOC.
Submit an online inquiry, which alerts the EEOC that you are considering the filing of a discrimination claim against your employer. A representative from the EEOC will interview you over the phone to collect information concerning your claim. Because of the pandemic, the EEOC has moved most of its interviews online or over the phone. After the interview, you submit a Charge of Discrimination via the EEOC portal.
You also can file a claim with your state’s governing body that investigates discrimination in the workplace. Most state governments have developed an information-sharing agreement with the EEOC.
What Legal Remedies Do I Have?
If the EEOC rules in your favor, you have the right to seek one or more legal remedies. Your employer might have to reinstate you if the company fired you, promote you to a position that matches your skills and professional credentials, and/or revisit a negative employee performance review to make it more positive.
Compensation is another legal remedy, and you have several ways to get paid. First, you might be eligible for back and future pay. The EEOC has the power to penalize your employer in the form of awarding punitive damages. One type of compensation that an employment lawyer can help you with is called pain and suffering. The acts of discrimination that you faced in the workplace might have caused you immense mental anguish and emotional distress.
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View statistics on recent studies conducted about workplace discrimination here.