Is LGBT a Protected Status in the California Workplace?

May 24, 2019 Rager & Yoon Discrimination

According to the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law, 15 to 43 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) workers report having been fired, denied promotions or in some way harassed at work. This figure is more than doubled when it comes to reports of transgender discrimination.

The concept of a protected class is at the very core of the equal rights movement, and the state of California mandates an inclusive work environment. As such, LGBT is considered to be a protected class in the state. This includes assumptions about sexual orientation based upon perception or appearance, so even if an employee is not actually LGBT, it doesn’t matter when it comes to enforcement of the law.

For decades now, the state has had laws on the books pertaining to LGBT discrimination in the workplace. These dovetail with federal discrimination laws such as The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation but is not as detailed or as in-depth as the California law.

Blatant or Subtle—It’s Still Discrimination

Workplace discrimination isn’t always obvious: It may be blatant verbal discrimination from a co-worker or manager, but it might be subtle – even barely discernable by those who don’t know what they’re looking for. Are you consistently getting unfavorable performance reviews when your performance is stellar? Is your boss or supervisor consistently assigning you those undesirable tasks that none of your co-workers are getting stuck with?

Discrimination can often be seen in instances ranging from job advertising to compensation inequities – or even working conditions. This includes repeated offensive jokes about sexual orientation, as well as more obviously abusive behavior and threats. The state of California has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination during the application, screening and interview process – as well as when promoting and demoting, transferring or terminating employees. This law also prohibits discrimination when doing such things as offering apprenticeships or training, as well as membership in employee organizations and/or unions.

Damages for Discrimination

If an employer (or potential employer) has discriminated against you, violating California’s LGBT discrimination laws, you might have a strong case against them. Under the law, if they are found guilty of violating your rights, a number of potential remedies may be ordered. These include (but are not limited to) attorney’s fees, back pay, and reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses related to your lawsuit, as well as damages for emotional distress and punitive damages. They can even be ordered to hire, promote, reinstate and/or provide training and other reasonable accommodations to you.

Have You Experienced LGBT Discrimination

The bottom line is that employers cannot discriminate against an employee or candidate for employment based on their sexual orientation. If you have experienced such immigration, contact Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers now. We will stand up for your rights and take on any employer who infringes on them. Contact our Los Angeles discrimination attorney now to discuss your case or schedule a consultation with our compassionate, knowledgeable and experienced team at 310-527-6994.

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