LGBT Discrimination

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 What is LGBT Discrimination?

Overall, LGBT discrimination can include any kind of different treatment given to a person who is or identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (i.e., their “gender identity”). A person does not generally have to be homosexual to be subject to LGBT discrimination; it can also include treatment based on the perceived status of the person.

In an employment context, “employment discrmination” can refer to any situation where an employee is treated wrongly or differently on the basis of certain “protected classes.” These can include different treatment based on a person’s race, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and other characteristics. Discrimination can also include cases where one group of workers is treated better than another based on such protected classes.

What are Some Examples of LGBT Discrimination?

As with other types of discrimination, LGBT discrimination can include many different types of conduct and treatment. These can include:

  • Refusing to hire someone based on their status as an LGBT individual;
  • Paying someone lower than another person who performs the same type of work, based on the person’s LGBT identification;
  • Penalizing an employee for participation in LGBT activities (such as attending an LGBT-themed event);
  • Denying a person employment benefits, raises, or retirement packages based on their status as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender;
  • Harassing a person due to their LGBT status; and
  • Various other forms of mistreatment or different treatment.

You should note that state laws may have different details when it comes to LGBT discrimination laws. Individual employers may also have different work policies when it comes to discrimination. However, their work policies cannot be in conflict with or in violation of federal or state discrimination laws.

What are the Grounds for an LGBT Discrimination Lawsuit?

Race, gender, and national orientation discrimination is specifically protected by the 14th amendment. Federal protection at that level has not yet been fully extended to LGBT individuals. However, the Supreme Court has made rulings that interpret LGBT discrimination as stemming from common causes as gender discrimination.

If an employee receives unfair treatment because of their sexual orientation, then their sex or gender was an underlying consideration and motivation for the unfair treatment. While there might not be grounds for a lawsuit based on LGBT discrimination, there may be grounds for a gender discrimination LGBT lawsuit, depending on the situation. 

Gender discrimination, which involves different treatment based on gender stereotypes, can be different from LGBT discrimination depending on state and local laws. However, gender and LGBT discrimination generally overlap enough that gender discrimination is often used as the grounds for LGBT discrimination. This is especially the case when there is no legal precedent (prior cases) for LGBT discrimination in a certain area or with regard to a certain issue.

Mnay states have already passed their own laws against LGBT discrimination. For example, as of October 2019, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland are all examples states that have passed anti-discrimination employment laws. These safeguard sexual orientation as well as gender identity claims.

Who May File a LGBT Discrimination Lawsuit?

If a person believes that they have been discriminated against based on their gender identity, they may qualify for a legal remedy. In order to obtain this, they will usually need to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Center (EEOC), which is a governmental department that processes such claims. 

The EEOC will conduct an investigation into the matter, and may then provide or suggest an appropriate remedy (such as reinstating a person to their position who was fired based on the LGBT status).

It is usually necessary to file with the EEOC first before the employee can file a private lawsuit. If the EEOC’s remedy is not suitable or sufficient to resolve the claim, then they will usually be allowed to pursue private civil litigation.

What If I Have Been Retaliated Against for Filing a Discrimination Claim?

It is illegal for employers to engage in employment retaliation against a worker who has filed a discrimination claim. For instance, an employee cannot fire an employee simply because that person has filed an LGBT or other discrimination claim with the EEOC. If this happens, then the employee might be able to file a separate legal claim against the employer for the retaliation issues.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with LGBT Discrimination Claims?

Laws addressing LGBT discrimination are still undergoing development, and may vary from area to area. If you have any legal issues, an discrimination lawyer in your area will help you figure out if you have been discriminated against and if you have a case. 

An attorney may be necessary to advise you of your best options and devise the best possible case. They can also provide legal representation during the entire process.

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