Every employee deserves a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment. Unfortunately for LGBTQ workers in Ohio, there are still huge gaps in legal protections. There is currently no state or federal law that expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of sexual orientation.
That being said, there are certain recent EEOC decisions that are a step in the right direction. Indeed, if you have experienced discrimination in the workplace based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, you may have a legal claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You should speak with our Columbus LGBTQ discrimination attorney right away.
At Coffman Legal, our experienced Columbus LGBTQ discrimination attorney is a strong and compassionate advocate for worker rights. If you or your loved one experienced any workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Columbus law office for a free, fully confidential consultation.
What You Need to Know About Recent Sexual Orientation Discrimination Cases
It is worth noting that there have been some very important recent decisions in sexual orientation discrimination cases at the federal level. As a starting point, in Complainant v. Department of Transportation, a male employee of the DOT filed a claim after he was not given a permanent position at the agency. In reviewing the claim, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that his status as a gay man was a key driving factor in the decision made by the employer. Notably, the case contains the following line: “sexual orientation as a concept cannot be defined or understood without reference to sex.”
In another case, the EEOC ruled on an employee’s right to be free from gender identity discrimination is in the case. Specifically, in Complainant v. Department of Justice, a transgender woman alleged that she was denied a position due to her gender identity. Once again, the EEOC determined that gender identity discrimination is, by definition, a form of gender/sex discrimination. The ruling contains the following important line: “we conclude that intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination based on sex.”
Under Title VII of the EEOC, your employer is not able to rely on sex-based considerations or take gender into account when taking an employment action. If your employer has treated you differently from other employees because of your sexual orientation, this treatment is illegal and you have the right to file a claim.
Sexual Orientation Is Closely Related to Sex/Gender Discrimination
LGBTQ discrimination claims are complicated. There are currently several different important cases that are working their way through state and federal courts. Unfortunately, Ohio still lacks strong anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination laws. However, it does not necessarily mean that LGBTQ employees are prevented from bringing a legal claim if they faced unfair treatment while on the job.
As recent EEOC cases demonstrate, there is a very close link between discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and discrimination on the basis of sex/gender. Indeed, in many cases, sexual orientation discrimination is simply considered a form of sex discrimination. Many believe that Title VII already provides protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers (among others). An LGBTQ worker may be entitled to bring a sex discrimination claim:
- When it involves treatment that would not have occurred but for the individual’s sex;
- When it is based on the sex of the person(s) the individual associates with; and
- When it is premised on the fundamental sex stereotype, norm, or expectation that individuals should be attracted only to those of the opposite gender.
Because these legal issues are highly complex, it is essential that LGBTQ workers seek professional representation. If you are an LGBTQ worker who was mistreated on the job, do not assume that you lack workplace rights. You are not legally prevented from bringing a claim. If you are facing any type of adverse employment action or workplace harassment based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, you may have experienced unlawful gender discrimination. We are here to conduct a free review of your case.
Discrimination Based on Gender Stereotypes
Even though it is technically still legal in Ohio to be fired based on your sexual orientation, employers should not be able to discriminate on the basis of gender. Without question, more needs to be done to strengthen LGBTQ workplace protections in Ohio and throughout the United States. There are currently large and unacceptable gaps in protection. Groups like Equality Ohio are working with legislators to pass a bill to end this discrimination. Employers should never discriminate against employees or applicants who may not conform to an employer’s gender stereotypes or who otherwise exhibit gender non-conforming behavior.
Contact our Columbus LGBTQ Discrimination Attorney for a FREE consultation
At Coffman Legal, our Columbus employment law attorney has the skills and legal knowledge needed to handle the full range of LGBTQ discrimination cases. If you believe you have experienced LGBTQ discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity at work, we are here to help.
While additional legal reforms are needed to protect LGBTQ workers, there are steps that can be taken under the current state and federal laws. You may have a gender discrimination or sexual harassment claim. We will review your case and explain your rights to you. To schedule a free, fully private legal consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm at 1-614-350-5540.
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