Gay and Lesbian Sexual Harassment


UPDATE on LGBTQ Rights in the Workplace

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States rendered a decision upholding the rights of LGBTQ employees in the workplace. In a 6-3 decision, the Court stated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under federal law.

The law prohibits employers from making negative employment decisions based on an employee’s or job applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. This federal decision applies to any workplace with 15 or more employees throughout the United States.

Gay and Lesbian Sexual Harassment Attorney

Law firm fighting against LGBTQ sexual harassment at work

Teasing. Bullying. Harassment. Violence. These sound like adolescent problems for high school students.

Regrettably, these are still prevalent issues surrounding adult gay and lesbian workers in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami. The LGBTQ community faces sexual harassment and discrimination at unsettling high rates in the workplace. If you are being harassed at work, you may feel as though you do not have a chance to fight back. But — now is your time to stand up for your right to the fair and safe work environment.

What does “LGBT” mean?

LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. When a “Q” is added to the end for LGBT it is used as a stand-in for questioning (LGBTQ) or question. It there are two QQs at the end LGBTQQ, it stands for Questioning Queer. This alternative to the standard acronym means the individual is uncertain of his or her sexual orientation. Other terms used when an individual is unsure are Ally or Asexual.

If you are an employee and need representation in an employment law issue, contact us for a free review with an employment law attorney today.

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What is “sexual orientation”?

Sexual orientation refers to a person’s physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction towards other people. Everyone has a sexual orientation, which is integral to a person’s identity. Gay men and lesbian women are attracted to individuals of the same sex as themselves. Heterosexual people (sometimes known as “straight”) are attracted to individuals of a different sex from themselves. Bisexual people may be attracted to individuals of the same or different sex. Sexual orientation is not related to gender identity.

The sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group represent clients across New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Miami regardless of their sexual orientation or affiliation. We take complaints of harassment seriously. We provide hard-hitting legal counsel for the gay, lesbian, queer, and transgender employee who feel like they do not have a voice.

Sexual Harassment Attorney Derek Smith recently obtained a $1,600,000 verdict in a sexual orientation trial and that the amount was recently upheld on appeal.

Gay and lesbian Sexual Harassment: By the Numbers

Since many instances of workplace sexual harassment go unreported, the numbers surrounding gay and lesbian discrimination are still uncertain. But, working with the data available, the researchers at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy have assembled this data:

  • Fifteen percent to 43 percent of gay and transgender workers have experienced some form of discrimination on the job.
  • 90 percent of transgender workers report harassment at work.
  • Eight percent to 17 percent of gay and transgender workers report being passed over for a job or fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Ten percent to 28 percent received a negative performance evaluation or were passed over for a promotion because they were gay or transgender.
  • Seven percent to 41 percent of gay and transgender workers were verbally or physically abused or had their workplace vandalized.

Abuse on the job isn’t just a nuisance — it is a threat to your safety and well-being. Gay and lesbian victims of sexual harassment many deals with extreme psychological repercussions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal tendencies. If you have been harassed at work, you may wish to seek psychological as well as legal help.

Sexual Harassment Based on Perceived Sexual Orientation

You do not actually have to identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, or queer to pursue a sexual harassment lawsuit. Laws prohibit workplace discrimination (including harassment) based on “actual or perceived” sexual orientation. For example, you were repeatedly called “queer,” “fag,” and “homo” at your job, but your identity as heterosexual.

You may still be entitled to compensation for sexual harassment. You can be harassed by a member of the same-sex, or of the opposite sex. The harasser could be your supervisor or co-worker.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call (800) 807-2209 today.

Call Our Sexual Harassment Attorneys For a Free Consultation

You expect to be treated as an equal in the workplace. When your employer fails to maintain this basic right, contact the New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group at 800-807-2209.


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With over 25 years of experience, we have represented thousands of employment discrimination victims. We have recovered millions for our clients, including the largest emotional distress jury verdict in an employment law case ever to be sustained on appeal!

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