Sexual orientation discrimination is an evolving area of law. Federal employment protection was established in 2015, even though you’ll still find a lot of misinformation out there stating that the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) does not provide protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. State laws still vary, and they are changing. Federal law doesn’t apply to all employers, but if it applies to yours, it doesn’t matter whether your state laws protect you or not, you still get federal protection. If you are not covered by federal law, you need to know if you have protection from sexual orientation discrimination under your state’s laws.
What is Sexual Orientation Discrimination?
Under federal law, sexual orientation discrimination applies to discrimination based on being any of the following:
It also applies if you are discriminated against because of your perceived sexual orientation, even when that’s incorrect. In other words, an employer who refused to hire you because they thought you were gay, but you’re not, can’t weasel their way out of a sexual orientation discrimination claim by saying, “Well, he wasn’t really gay anyway, so it doesn’t count.”
States are Different
If you must rely on your state law for protection, because federal law doesn’t apply to your employer, you need to know the law in your state. Each state is different, and the law is constantly catching up to the standards of our society. If you weren’t protected last year, you might be protected now. You need the help of an experienced employment lawyer in your state.
If you believe that you may have a sexual orientation discrimination claim against your employer or someone who refused to hire you, please, find a qualified law firm in your area.