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Is A California Employer Liable For Homophobia In The Workplace?

Workplace Discrimination And Harassment Against LGBT Employees In California

California employment law covers a broad ground for employee protection against discrimination. It even covers more ground than federal employment law regarding protected attributes. That said, discrimination can still happen in the workplace.

That said, there need to be specific requirements for certain acts to be considered workplace discrimination. For example, this means isolated cases can sometimes not be reported as an act of gender discrimination in the workplace.

So, when can you sue for homophobic remarks? Does it count as harassment? Let's look at what our California LGBTQ discrimination lawyers have to say:

california lgbtq discrimination lawyer

What Does California Employment Law Say About Homophobia In The Workplace?

Whether someone is treated differently due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation—lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, or straight—this is known as sexual orientation discrimination.

This indicates that discrimination may occur regardless of whether others perceive a person's orientation correctly. In addition, a person's association with someone with a different sexual orientation may also contribute to it.

If you're unsure whether your case falls under LGBTQ discrimination in California employment law, consult a prescreened gender discrimination lawyer in California.

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What Does Homophobic Employment Discrimination In California Look Like?

Once you disclose your sexual orientation to employees or display a photo of your same-sex spouse on your desk, you can notice that you start to receive different treatment. Your boss, the CEO, or a small number of other employees could be the source of the discrimination.

In California, an employer cannot make employment decisions based on your sexual orientation. So, for example, you are not hired, promoted, disciplined, or dismissed because your boss believes you to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or straight person.

Discrimination may also include being passed over for a promotion, being fired unfairly, getting a write-up without justification, and other severe negative employment actions.

If proven that the employment decisions made about you were discriminatory in nature, then you can file claims for the following:

  • Discrimination: You can file for a discrimination claim if your boss made employment decisions that are discriminatory in nature. In this case, employment actions rooted in homophobia may count as employment discrimination.

  • Wrongful termination: If you were fired because you were gay or lesbian, you may file a claim in California.

  • Retaliation: You have the right to report homophobia to the appropriate agencies. If you are punished or penalized by your boss for doing so (i.e., pay cuts, suspensions, demotions, etc.), you can file a retaliation claim against them.

  • Harassment: If you're experiencing repeated unwanted behavior, you can file for workplace harassment.

If you've been experiencing discrimination in any way, contact a California LGBT discrimination lawyer ASAP.

Harassment is when you're experiencing unwanted physical contact or verbal remarks. For cases of California harassment in the workplace, you will need to prove that it is rooted in discrimination and that the actions are happening repeatedly.

You might be enduring the following:

  • Remarks about your behavior or sexual activity

  • Sexual jokes

  • Requests for sexual favors

  • Getting pressured to go on a date

  • Touching or grabbing

  • Leering

  • Inappropriate gestures

  • Hostile remarks

  • Images or artwork that negatively portray a particular sexual orientation

  • Sexual assault or rape

  • Other forms of unwanted physical contact

Your harasser could be a customer, coworker, employer, or boss, and they could be of the same sex as you or someone else.

Is Your Boss Liable For Homophobic Workplace Harassment In California?

It is your boss' responsibility to address harassment in the workplace. However, if you reported the harassment and they ignored it or retaliated against you, then you can file a sexual orientation discrimination claim in California.

However, if the harasser is a customer, then your boss might not have as much liability in the situation.

Is One Homophobic Comment Enough To File A California Discrimination Claim?

For significant employment decisions like hiring, firing, pay cuts, and demotions, you only need to show that the employment decision was influenced by your sexual orientation.

On the other hand, workplace harassment could be more shaky ground. Isolated incidents like off-hand comments might not qualify as acts of discriminatory harassment. These small instances need to be repetitive and create a hostile working environment.

That said, all of it is relative. So, for example, one instance of homophobic off-hand remarks might not be enough, be one instance of sexual assault might be.

It's important to consult a prescreened California Sexual Orientation Discrimination Attorney.

california sexual orientation discrimination lawyer

1000Attorneys gives clients referrals to prescreened sexual orientation discrimination lawyers in California. Our lawyer referral services agency is certified by the State Bar, so we only give referrals to prescreened, trusted, and experienced attorneys near you.


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