You should never have to feel intimidated, harassed, or frightened by workplace discrimination. You deserve the equal chance to earn a meaningful living – you deserve to be respected and treated well. Despite the unbelievable strides our society has made towards gay and lesbian (LGBT) acceptance and equality, widespread discrimination still exists. Individuals are highly affected by employment sexual orientation discrimination in New York City NY, Newark, Jersey City, Hoboken, New Jersey & Philadelphia PA workplaces.

WHAT IS SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION? | Employment Discrimination Attorneys in NYC, NJ & PA

Despite making great strides in gender and sex equality, discrimination based on sexual orientation (LGBT) is still a major area of contention in the American workplace.  Sex and gender discrimination occurs when an individual is harassed based on an individual’s actual, or perceived sexual orientation. This can occur if the employee is lesbian, homosexual (gay), bisexual, asexual, pansexual, Bi-curious or straight (heterosexual). Employees have even been discriminated against because of who they have an attraction to, which is called Affinity Orientation Discrimination. Affinity orientation discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant is treated differently because of who they have are attracted to for personal and intimate relationships. This is also a form of sexual orientation discrimination and is illegal. Much like race, America still has much work to do with respect to sexual orientation discrimination or LGBT discrimination. This type of employment discrimination disproportionality impacts employees of our LGBT community. Certain federal laws such as the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Pregnancy Discrimination Act have attempted to level the playing field, but these acts mean nothing if brave individuals don’t come forward and work with sexual orientation discrimination attorney’s in order to hold devious employers accountable for their actions. If you have been exposed to this type of employment discrimination contact the sexual orientation discrimination lawyers in New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia for a free consultation today.

Sexual Orientation Attorney Explains Your Rights as an LGBT Employee | Sexual Orientation Attorney in NYC-NJ-PA

 IS SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION ILLEGAL? | Call Today For A Free Consultation 877.469.5297

Sexual orientation is not protected class under federal law like the traditional classes of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability are for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania employers. However Many local cities within New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. In-fact in 1975, Pennsylvania became the first state to ban public sector employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. New York State followed in 1983 with sexual orientation discrimination protection for state employment and New Jersey enacted sexual orientation discrimination protection in 1991 for state employment. New York and New Jersey now have sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination protections for all employees within the states. Pennsylvania has sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination for only state employees.
Under New York City, New Jersey & Philadelphia law discrimination based on sexual orientation can occur at any time during the employment relationship. From the initial job application through the last day on the job. In many cases, sexual orientation based discrimination in New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia are accompanied by sexual harassment in the workplace. Both are violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as state and city laws. Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a common form or employment discrimination in New York City, New Jersey & Philadelphia workplaces. Employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is a form of sex discrimination.


 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has made it illegal for employers to discriminate against individuals base on sex. The EEOC has extended many of these protections to include gender identity and sexual orientation. After numerous cases, the EEOC holds the position that current sex discrimination provision under Title VII applies to the LGBT community, obtaining over $6 million in monetary relief for these individuals.
For example, in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins the Supreme Court held discrimination based on sex stereotypes is unlawful sex discrimination. In this case, Price Waterhouse denied an employee a promotion because, in part, the partners at the firm felt she did not “act as a women should act.” The court held that Title VII’s “because of sex” provision is designed to combat the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women resulting from sex stereotypes.


In an effort to reduce the stigma of HIV related discrimination and health inequities a central goal of the Obama Administration was to reduce discrimination against those persons living with HIV. For this, the EEOC has proven critical in stamping out employment discrimination based on an individual’s positive HIV status.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers, not only from discriminating against individuals with disabilities, but also individuals who are regarded as having an disability. The general definition of disability includes individuals who have been discriminated against due to actually or perceived impairment, which easily covers an HIV – positive individual. HIV substantially limits major life activities, such as a functioning immune system.
An individual with a disability is a qualified individual under the ADA if they meet the job related requirements and is able to, with or without reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job. If a person with HIV, or a person who is known to associate or have any type of relationship with an individual who is HIV positive, can perform the essential job functions and meets the job related requirements, yet an employer refuses to hire, promote, terminates or denies an individual the privileges of employment based on an individual’s HIV status, or associations, then that individual may have a cause of action for employment discrimination and should contact our experienced discrimination attorney’s at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC.


 New York City Human Rights Law, Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York (“CCHR”) forbids the discriminatory harassment in employment. The New York City Council passed the Transgender Rights Bill in 2002, which greatly expanded gender-based protections and ensured the protections for people whose gender and self-image do not conform with the sex assigned to them  at birth. The City passed this law with the explicit intent to prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals.  The law was a result of the frequent and sever discrimination transgender individuals face. This amendment made it clear that gender based discrimination was a violation of the New York Cities civil rights law.
Under the CCHR, discrimination includes any discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression and transgender status. This includes an intersex individual. This can be based on a person’s perceived or actual gender identity, which does not have to conform to ones assigned gender at birth or in the ways in which a person expresses said gender, whether in communication or appearance. Specifically, when a person is treated “less well than others on account of their gender” that constitutes gender discrimination in the City of New York. Harassment is  counted as a form of discrimination under the CCHR, which can be a single isolated incident of disparate treatment, or a pattern of behavior. This disparate treatment often manifests itself as harassment, but includes behavior which creates an environment or culture of sex stereotyping, degradation, humiliation, bias or objectification; this is to include unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. While sexual harassment is often the subject of this type of claim, the CCHR does not limit this type of behavior to sex.
In the context of employment, the CCHR prohibits an employer from hiring, firing, failing to promote or setting different terms and conditions of employment, including work assignments, employee benefits and keeping a workplace free from harassment, based on an individual’s gender.
Some specific forms of harassment covered by the CCHR include the failure to use an individuals preferred name or pronoun, refusing to allow an individual to utilize same-sex facilitates and programs consistent with their gender, sex stereotyping, imposing different uniforms or grooming standards based on sex or gender, providing employee benefits that discriminate based on gender, considering gender when evaluating request for accommodations, engaging in discriminatory harassment or engaging in retaliation.


Not only does the City of New York provide protections against gender-discrimination, t New York State has created protections for these individuals.
Currently, no federal laws protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers from employment discrimination or harassment. Thankfully, New York offers progressive protections for employees who have suffered discrimination.
The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, typically known by its acronym “SONDA,” prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation in employment. SONDA added the term “sexual orientation” to the list of specifically protected characteristics in various State laws, including the Human Rights Law, the Civil Rights Law, and the Education Law back in 2002.

How does New York law define “sexual orientation”? | New York City Sexual Orientation Lawyer | 212.587.0760

SONDA defines sexual orientation as “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.” Thus, the law affords protection where individuals are targeted either based on their actual sexual orientation, or based on what the discriminator believes their orientation to be.
For example, you may have been called “gay,” “homo,” or “faggot” by your co-workers – yet you identify as heterosexual. You may still have a claim for sexual orientation discrimination under New York’s SONDA law.

Does discrimination cover harassment? | LGBT Discrimination Attorney in NYC-NJ-PA | Free Consultation

Yes, if you were harassed at work due to your actual or perceived sexual orientation, you may have a legal claim for discrimination. Overall, SONDA covers employment discrimination in every area of your job.
For example, an employer may have refused to hire you because you are gay. In another scenario, your co-workers might have taunted you for identifying as a transgender person. Either case may be considered LGBT discrimination.


 In 2006, the New Jersey Commission on Civil Rights passed a gender identity or expression bill to protect people in New Jersey based on their gender identity or expression in employment. The legislature sought to prohibit discrimination when directed against any person for the reason of gender identity or expression. This a matter of great concern to the government of the state because such discrimination threatens the rights and privileges of inhabitants of the New Jersey and is a menace to the foundations of a free democratic State. This includes protections against discrimination of family members, spouses, business associates, etc. based on the gender of an individual.
In order to file a complaint with the Commission under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) a person must file their complaint within 180 days of the discriminatory act, to be submitted by a  single copy to any office of the Division or any office or field investigator of the Division.
Once filed, the Commission will give the employee a form which notifies the employee of their rights under the LAD, including the right to file a verified complaint in the Superior Court Of New Jersey to be heard before a jury. Once received, the Commission will also serve a copy on all respondents within thirty (30) days of the Divisions’ receipt of the complaint. Once served the Respondent shall have twenty (20) days after service of the complaint to respond.
Once all parties are served and answers filed, the Division shall complete its investigation within one-hundred (100) days after the filing the complaint. The Division conducts an investigation as with any civil case, through depositions, interrogatories, subpoenas and other investigatory tools, which may include a fact finding conference.
After a thorough investigation, an administrative judge shall make a determination, followed by the Director of the Commission entering her final order. This results of this order may be appealed through a motion for reconsideration within thirty (30) day of the Director issuing the final order.
This process can be daunting. Our skilled attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have handled numerous gender discrimination cases in New Jersey and are prepared to help you navigate the treacherous world of administrative proceedings.


 In Pennsylvania, the practice discriminating against individuals based on sex is still prevalent. The Legislature believes this type discrimination causes domestic strife and unrest in the commonwealth. The denial of equal employment hampers the productivity of Pennsylvania citizens, often resulting in a higher burden on the Commonwealth, undermining the basic principles of a free democratic society.
As such, the state has passed the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, in an effort to combat the discrimination faced by many individuals on the basis of sex. This act prevents employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex in hiring, firing, promoting and the setting of conditions and privileges associate with employment. These protections extend to the advertising of a position, the interview process and retaliatory firing.
Pennsylvania has yet to extend these sex based protections to gender protections. However, the city of Philadelphia is working tirelessly to grant protections to individuals based on their gender, or perceived gender. For example, Bill 130224, which was passed and signed into law in 2013, allows city workers to access transition-related health care, it implemented a transgender health tax credit, mandated gender neutral bathrooms in city buildings and amended a trans-inclusive antidiscrimination law.
Sex based discrimination is clearly protected in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, however, these protections are not yet extended to an individual’s gender. As legislation tosses around both city and commonwealth courts, it becomes increasing important that individuals with claims contact our attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group PLLC, in order to use our experience in gender–based discrimination to place pressure on the Courts and protect the gender rights of individuals.


Our sexual orientation discrimination lawyers at Derek Smith Law Group understand the law backwards and forwards. We know the burden of proof is on you to show a direct correlation between your sexual orientation and the adverse actions taken by your employer. However, employers rarely acknowledge discriminatory activities. Most cases of discrimination are based on circumstantial evidence – yet using our knowledge and experience, our attorneys can build a solid case in your favor.
Relying on circumstantial proof of intentional discrimination require a three step process:
First, you must present sufficient evidence to show a cause and effect relationship between the challenged action (e.g., failure to promote, hire, etc.) and your sexual orientation. This is what is referred to as your prima facie case.
Second, your employer must respond by simply offering a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the action. This is called satisfying the burden of production.
Third, you must present evidence proving, despite the excuses offered by your employer, that the adverse action was motivated by his or her intention to discriminate. This is called the burden of persuasion and may be achieved, for example, by proving that the reason offered by the defendant is merely a pretext for actual discrimination.
In cases alleging intentional discriminatory actions, you carry the ultimate burden of persuading a court that the actions of your employer were motivated by a discriminatory intent regarding your sexual orientation. Having an experienced New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia sexual orientation discrimination attorney to guide your case and help you gather evidence, witnesses and expert testimony can make the difference in having a successful resolution to your complaint.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation may seem very clear to victims, but strong proof must be provided to prevail in a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit. Lacking such proof makes for a very weak case. However, our New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia sexual orientation discrimination lawyer help clients better understand the difference between lawful and discriminatory behavior in the workplace.


Do not be the victim of sexual orientation discrimination. Our experienced sexual orientation discrimination attorneys in New York City, New Jersey & Philadelphia are ready to fight for and protect your rights as an employee. Our sexual orientation attorneys goal is to get the best possible results for you in your sexual orientation discrimination case. If you have questions about sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace or would like to speak with us regarding your sexual orientation case, contact the employment discrimination law firm of Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC today by calling our toll-free number 877-469-5297. Our sexual orientation lawyers offer a free consultation and charge no fee unless we recover for you in your sexual orientation discrimination EEOC claim or lawsuit.