New York is a progressive state, however, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination continues to occur in many workplaces. If you have been treated differently by your employer or co-workers because of your actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, the best way to protect your rights is to consult an experienced employment discrimination attorney.
Lipsky Lowe LLP is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community. We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. Although federal law does not specifically address workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the private sector, workers throughout New York are protected by local and state laws.
Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and certain federal appeals courts have held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). At Lipsky Lowe, we leverage our knowledge of local and state laws and the applicable EEOC and appellate court rulings to enforce the rights of LGBTQ workers. When you become our client, we will provide you with the finest legal representation and make sure that your rights are protected.
LGBTQ Rights in New York
Under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), employers are prohibted from discriminating against employees and job candidates based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, whether homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual, regardless of whether the employer’s perceptions are accurate. This means that it is illegal for an employer to treat individuals unequally based on a belief about their sexual orientation whether that belief is correct or incorrect. In particular, employers are barred from:
- Refusing to hire a candidate based on sexual orientation
- Terminating an employee once aware of that person’s sexual orientation
- Denying any employment benefit to an LBGT employee
- Harassing an employee due to his/her sexual orientation
- Retaliating against an employee who complains about sexual orientation discrimination
- Examples of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace include:
- Harassment by supervisors or coworkers based on sexual orientation
- Derogatory comments about gay, lesbian, or bisexual individuals
- Denying a worker a promotion due to his/her sexual orientation
- Supervisors or managers treating workers differently after finding out about their sexual orientation
- Comments such as “He’s too effeminate for this position,” or “She’s not feminine enough” by anyone in the workplace
- Asking a worker not to bring a same-sex partner to an event when opposite-sex partners are invited
Additionally, the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) provides some of the most expansive protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. The law specifically prohibits discrimination against homosexuality, bisexuality, or heterosexuality as well as an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, physical or sexual attraction to other person’s, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender and includes protections for those who identify as asexual or pansexual.
Gender Identity Discrimination
In 2019, the NYSHRL was amended by the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. The term “gender identity” includes an individual’s actual or perceived gender-related “identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or another gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.”
Moreover, the NYCHRL prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their actual or perceived sex, gender identity, and gender expression. This includes “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related self-image, appearance, behavior, expression, or another gender-related characteristic, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth.”
Despite the comprehensive protection provided by local and state law to the LGBTQ individuals, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is overlooked in workplaces where sex stereotyping is not taken as seriously as other forms of employment discrimination.
Call Our Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination Attorney
If you have been subjected to workplace discrimination or harassment because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you have powerful protections under the laws of New York City and New York State. It is important to remember that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who complain about sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. When you consult Lipsky Lowe, LLP, you can rest assured we will help you stand up for your rights and fight back against your employer.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation such as back pay, front pay, and damages for emotional distress. Back pay may be awarded if your employer has taken an adverse employment action against you (e.g. firing, demoting, reassigning) for filing a discrimination or harassment complaint.
This compensation includes wages, bonuses, paid time off, and the monetary value of employment benefits (e.g., health insurance, retirement benefits). In addition, you may also be entitled to non-economic damages (referred to as pain and suffering) if you suffered emotional harm, your reputation was damaged or you incurred out of pocket costs because of harassment based on your sexual orientation or gender identity.
At Lipsky Lowe, we are committed to eliminating workplace discrimination and harassment in all its forms and protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community. Please contact our office today for a confidential evaluation of your case.