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Common Questions (And Answers) About LGBTQ+ Discrimination In The Workplace

The United States has made significant progress in recent decades in the advancement and protection of rights for the LGBTQ+ community, especially here in California. Still, workplace discrimination and harassment are all too common.

If you have experienced harassment, discrimination or other adverse workplace actions because of your sexual orientation, gender identity or other personal characteristics that have no bearing on your ability to do your job, you may be unsure of your rights and legal options. On this page, we’ve provided answers to questions you may have. After reading, you can contact Makarem & Associates to discuss your legal options in a free and confidential consultation.

What is considered LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace?

If you’re treated unfairly at work because you’re LGBTQ+, chances are good that what you have experienced is discrimination. It is illegal for employers to use a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for decisions regarding, hiring, firing, layoffs, promotions or other aspects of employment.

Can my employer fire me for being transgender in California?

No, they can’t. In California, the law says you cannot be fired or suffer other adverse employment actions just because you’re transgender. Unfortunately, it is nonetheless very common. Statistics show that nearly half of transgender workers have suffered workplace discrimination.

I’m being harassed at work for being LGBTQ+. What can I do?

Harassment is never okay. If possible, you should keep a record of what’s happening, with dates and details. Next, you can report this behavior to a supervisor or human resources.

If they don’t help, California has agencies like the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) where you can file a complaint. You may also want to consult an experienced employment law attorney like those at our firm.

Are there laws that protect me from discrimination based on sexual orientation?

Yes, there are, at both the state and federal levels. California is one of the states that have strong laws to protect you at work based on your sexual orientation. We outline some of these laws on our protecting LGBTQ+ workers page.

Is it okay for my employer to ask about my sexual orientation or gender identity?

Your sexual orientation and gender identity are personal, and you aren’t obligated to answer related questions from your employer. They should not ask you about it (with the possible exception of a basic question on employment forms). If your employer does ask you about it and later discriminates against you, the inquiry could be used as evidence in a workplace discrimination claim.

What does California law say about restrooms and gender identity?

In California, you have the right to use the restroom that matches your gender identity. Employers must respect this, and it’s part of the law that protects you from discrimination.

Can my employer deny me health benefits because I am LGBTQ+?

No, they can’t. In California, it’s illegal for employers to deny you health benefits that they provide to other employees because you are LGBTQ+.

What if my company doesn’t have an anti-discrimination policy?

Even if your company doesn’t have its own policy, California laws still protect you. Employers must follow these laws and provide a workplace free of discrimination.

Get Answers To Your Own Questions During A Free Initial Consultation

Makarem & Associates serves clients throughout the greater Los Angeles Metro Area. We make it easy to explore your legal options by offering free initial consultations. To claim yours, simply contact us online or call 800-610-9646 today.