Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace in New York City can occur whether you are heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. When an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer, CEO, supervisor or manager, co-worker, client or customer, vendor or non-employee because he or she fits in one of these categories then the person has become the victim of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Both federal and state laws prohibit this type of activity. For over 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims, just like you, get the justice you deserve.
What Is Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in New York City?
As an employee or job applicant, your sexual orientation should not play a role in any employment decision. However, when an employer, CEO, supervisor/manager, co-worker, client/customer, vendor, or non-employee treats you unfairly or harasses you because of your sexual orientation or even their perception of your sexual orientation, they are breaking the law. Whether you are heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, is your personal business and you are entitled to be out in the open with your sexual orientation without retaliation or discrimination in the workplace.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual orientation is protected as a form of sex discrimination. Therefore, it is prohibited for an employer of 15 or more employees to discriminate against you based on your sexual orientation in the same manner any sex discrimination would be prohibited under the law.
Federal employees are protected from sexual orientation discrimination under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and Executive Order 13087 of 1998. Therefore, anyone working for the federal government in any capacity is protected from discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
In New York City, the New York Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) prohibits discrimination against any employee who is a member of the LGBTQ community on the basis of sexual orientation.
If you have been the victim of sexual orientation discrimination in your workplace in New York City, you need evidence to bring your case to court. There are three types of evidence that can help prove your case: direct; disparate; and policy.
- Direct Evidence. Direct evidence is exactly as it sounds. It leaves nothing to the imagination and is often called the “smoking gun.” When you are told directly or indirectly that you are being treated unfairly or harassed because of your sexual orientation, you may have direct evidence for your discrimination claim. The evidence can be verbal or in writing and can be said or sent directly to you or someone else about you.
- Disparate Evidence. Disparate evidence is when you can prove a connection between unfair treatment or harassment and your sexual orientation. This is a much more common form of evidence. Typically, with disparate evidence, there is a cause and effect relationship that proves a culture within the office or continually discriminatory behavior, such as showing that no homosexual employees are ever promoted to a certain level and you are homosexual and were denied the promotion as well.
- Policy Evidence. Policy evidence is when a policy leads to discrimination simply by following it. For example, a policy may state that when an employee marries a member of the opposite sex then the spouse should be offered insurance. The policy discriminates against same-sex couples through compensation.
Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace can take several forms. It does not matter whether you are homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. It also does not matter if the person discriminating against you is a member of the LGBTQ community. Here are some examples of sexual orientation discrimination that may occur in your workplace.
- Your supervisor demotes you because he found out you are gay
- Your co-worker makes crude jokes about bisexual individuals even after you are clear that you are offended
- Your boss refuses to put you on a project for a Lesbian client because you are straight
- Your manager fires you because you complained to HR about his use of homophobic slurs in the workplace
- You boss refuses to offer your same-sex spouse insurance on your health plan even though you are legally married
- Your boss outs you to your co-workers even though you specifically asked him to keep your sexuality to himself
- You are harassed by your co-worker because you are homosexual
- Your co-worker keeps sending emails with homosexual jokes that you make clear offend you
- Your homosexual boss tells you that you are not “gay enough” and that you need to “flaunt it more”
- Your co-worker thinks you are gay and keeps trying to ask you on a date even though you have repeatedly told him you are not interested, and you are not gay
If you want to file a claim for sexual orientation discrimination under Title VII, you must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC gives a time limit of 300 days from the date the last incident of discrimination occurred. They will then investigate the claim to make sure it falls under the guidelines of Title VII and issue you a Right to Sue letter. Form there you have a time limit of 80 days to file the complaint in federal court.
If you wish to file a claim under SONDA, you have two options. You may choose to file a claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights. You have 1 year from the date of the last incident of discrimination to do so.
Your other option is to file a complaint directly with the court. The statute of limitations to file with the court is 3 years from the date of the last incident of discrimination.
As a victim of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, the courts are able to offer you relief to help you get back to life as it should. Some of the remedies available through the courts may include, but are not limited to:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reimbursement of medical premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for the discriminatory behavior
- Reviewing and revamping policies
- Attorney’s fees
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
When you file a claim against your employer for discrimination, it can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer, depending on the details of your case. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement with you prior to trial, your case may settle in as little as 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer insists on going to trial, your case may take 8 months to a year to prepare for trial. The trial may then take a few days to several weeks or more until a judgment is entered by the court.
As you decide what your next moves should be, there are a few things you should do right away to help your case along.
- Contact an experienced sexual orientation discrimination attorney immediately.
- If you are still employed, do not quit your job until consulting with your attorney first.
- If your company has an HR department, file a complaint for sexual orientation discrimination in writing.
- If your company has a sexual orientation discrimination policy, follow it.
- Gather evidence. Document everything, including what occurred, where and when it occurred, who was involved, and any witnesses.
- Do not waste time. Your time to file a claim is limited. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced New York City Sexual Orientation Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
You have the right to live your life however you wish. No employer should ever treat you unfairly or harass you because you are homosexual, heterosexual, or bi-sexual. If you are the victim of sexual orientation discrimination in New York City, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group (one of FindLaw’s top employment discrimination attorneys in New York City) can help. We have helped our clients win over $165,000,000 and we want to help you. Contact us today at (212) 587-0760 for your free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.
Different Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle:
- Race Discrimination
- Color Discrimination
- National Origin Discrimination
- Religion Discrimination
- Age (over 40) Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Gender or Sex Discrimination
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination
- Ethnic Discrimination
- LGBT Discrimination
- Hair Discrimination