Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual Orientation Discrimination New York City, NY

Sexual orientation discrimination describes the unequal treatment of employees based on a particular perceived sexual designation, such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and even heterosexual.

There is currently no federal legislation generally prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, 21 states, including California, as well as several cities, make this form of discrimination illegal in the workplace.


How Things Stand in California

California is one of the more progressive states for sexual minority rights. The state, and many municipalities below it, make sexual orientation in the workplace an illegal basis for harassment or discrimination. (Gender identity and expression are also protected categories.)

Specifically, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires that workplaces remain free of sexual orientation discrimination. This covers all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, training, compensation, promotion, and benefits. Additionally, employers must take reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment based on these characteristics.

It is important to know that these FEHA protections only apply to employees with five or more employees. Even if your employer is covered under the law, you must also show proof that you or another employee was harmed substantially due to the unlawful action taken.