Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

Despite all of the progress that has been recently made concerning LGBT rights, there are still many people in the workplace who are discriminatory and not accepting of those they perceive as having a different sexual orientation than their own. No worker should be treated differently, unfairly or be harassed simply because of their sexual orientation.

Like any other form or workplace discrimination, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation occurs whenever an employee is harassed, treated unfairly, or is denied certain benefits simply based on his or her sexual orientation, or based on the sexual orientation of someone the worker is close to. Harassment and being treated differently than other workers based on sexual orientation is despicable behavior and should never be tolerated. Victims of workplace discrimination should speak with an employment lawyer as soon as possible about their treatment, situation or concerns.

Discrimination Based On A Person’s Sexual Orientation

Discrimination against a worker based on sexual orientation can take many forms. A few examples include discriminating against a worker based on:

  • His or her real sexual orientation, which can include being homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, asexual or pansexual.
  • His or her perceived sexual orientation (i.e., others perceive the individual as being of a particular sexual orientation, whether their perception is accurate or not).
  • His or her association with others who are of a particular sexual orientation.
  • His or her participation in or association with groups, clubs or organizations that are affiliated with a particular sexual orientation.

What Protects Workers from Sexual Orientation Discrimination?

There are not many federal legal protections that expressly address sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, and there are no federal laws that prohibit workplace sexual orientation discrimination in the private sector. Workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not expressly prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but other bases are, such as discrimination on the basis of sex. However, a few executive orders have been signed by the president to protect federal workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. According to the executive orders, when workplace discrimination claims on the basis of sexual orientation arise in the federal sector, discrimination claims are treated as sexual discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unless the complaint specifically request some other procedural treatment.

Illinois state law, however, has taken a more progressive and active approach to sexual orientation workplace discrimination in employment. The Illinois Human Rights Act was amended in 2006 to provide protection against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender-related identity.

Workers who are discriminated against on the basis or sexual orientation do have legal options available to them. An experienced employment law attorney can be very helpful in understanding your options and deciding how to proceed with your workplace discrimination claim.

Call Now For A Free Initial Consultation

The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline can help you deal with your workplace discrimination claims, whether they are based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, or any other legally protected basis.  Contact our Chicago, Illinois workplace discrimination lawyers today for a free consultation.