In California, it is unlawful to discriminate against or harass someone in employment or housing because of that person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation. The law protects heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other classifications of orientation from differential treatment because of status and provides damages in situations where status/orientation has been a motivating factor in an adverse employment or housing decision. The Dolan Law Firm is a diverse firm with a record of success in representing the rights of dozens of members of our diverse community with outstanding results. Contact us if you believe that you have been a victim of unlawful treatment because of your orientation or status. We work on a contingency fee and get paid only if we receive a recovery for you.
Unlawful discrimination occurs when you are denied a job or promotion, are terminated or a term or condition of employment is changed adversely in whole or in part because of your orientation/status.
Unlawful harassment can take many forms such as name calling, jokes, exclusion from important meetings and functions, being told you are too gay, being told not to discuss your orientation with others, being denied the right to bring your partner to company functions, etc.
Employers can implement policies that affect all individuals equally, i.e., a no partners/spouses rule at company functions. They cannot, however, have special rules that apply only to members of the LGBT community such as restrictions on kissing your partner/spouse in the workplace or prohibitions on displaying photographs of your partner/spouse. An employer can not retaliate against you for opposing unlawful conduct.
Can You Quit if Conditions Are Intolerable?
The law recognizes that sometimes conditions get so bad that people have no reasonable alternative but to quit their employment rather than endure continued unlawful conduct. An employee cannot just quit and sue because of one simple incident. The conditions must be of such severity and frequency that a reasonable person would think that there is no alternative and that he or she was, in effect, constructively terminated. You should first report the conditions through your company’s complaint procedure, where possible, before you quit or your rights to recover damages may be reduced.
What to Do if You Have Been Treated Unlawfully
Many companies have policies regarding anti-discrimination and harassment in their company handbooks. Likewise, they may require that you follow a certain channel of communication in requesting an accommodation and/or reporting harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation. You should follow these procedures and document your actions in writing. Failure to follow these procedures may lead to a denial of your legal right to recover certain damages like punitive damages.
You have a limited period of time to act to protect your rights. Failure to act promptly may eliminate your right to take legal action.
If you believe that you are being discriminated against or harassed because of your sexual orientation, contact the Dolan Law Firm online or call 888-452-4752 for a free case evaluation.
An individual who has suffered unlawful conduct in California in violation of their rights under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (such as discrimination and or harassment based on membership in a protected classification) must file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) generally within one year of the conduct (there are limited exceptions) or they may lose their right to pursue legal action.