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Is it illegal to discriminate against me at work due to my sexual orientation?

The answer to the above question is yes. Such discrimination is definitely illegal. There are laws that protect people against being discriminated against for a variety of reasons in the workplace in Southern California, as well as throughout the nation. For example, you cannot be discriminated against by an employer on grounds such as sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, religion, national origin, pregnancy or race.

The laws on the books are clear and unequivocal about these protections. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “[T]he Supreme Court held that firing individuals because of their sexual orientation or transgender status violates Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination in employment due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

In addition, you should be aware that the law applies widely — to private industry, government (state, local and federal), labor organizations and employment agencies.

What specific types of sex-based discrimination am I protected from?

Being let go because of sexual orientation or gender identity is not the sole kind of discrimination you are protected from by law in the workplace.

  • An employee or job applicant is not allowed to be treated negatively or “unfavorably” due to the person’s sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • It is against the law to discriminate against a person in several employment-related duties and actions, such as training, hiring, pay and layoff, to cite a few typical examples.
  • Sex discrimination harassment is also illegal. It occurs when the harassment is taking place with a level of frequency or severity that a “hostile or offensive work environment” is created.

Although the law is explicit about this type of discrimination in the workplace, you could still be a victim of it. There are established channels to report such discrimination. You may also choose to pursue appropriate legal recourse with the assistance of an experienced attorney.

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