Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (or “Title VII”) protects employees from discrimination based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation is also unlawful under California law. California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) makes it illegal for an employer to fire, fail to hire, or discriminate in any way against job applicant or employee because of their sexual orientation.
FEHA also prohibits harassment based on sexual orientation. The harassment, which can come from a boss, supervisor, or coworker, must be so “severe and pervasive” that it interferes with the employees ability to perform their job. For example, an employee that is subjected to homophobic slurs and/or jokes on a regular basis may be pervasive enough to constitute harassment.
Cases involving allegations of sexual orientation discrimination generally require exhausting administrative remedies before the individual can file a lawsuit against the employer.
Contact the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke if you believe you have been discriminated against based on your sexual orientation.