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Celebrating Pride Month Through Workplace Equality

June 16, 2021 | Employment Law

For the LGBTQ+ community, June marks Pride Month, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots, an event that began to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ equality, rights and issues.  Extensive workplace protections for LGBT people exist under California law, particularly for issues related to fairness in job opportunities, promotions, benefits and other employment issues.

In 1992, after the AB101 Veto Riot, where Governor Pete Wilson vetoed a law which would have guaranteed protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by private employers, Governor Wilson later signed the legislation. This landmark achievement reformed existing California anti-discrimination laws, including fair employment and labor practices for the LGBTQ+ community. Both the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act make it illegal for an employer to fire, demote, fail to hire, fail to promote, harass, or otherwise discriminate against employees because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. These protections include anti-discrimination practices regarding fairness in wages and benefits.

Discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation can take many forms.  In the workplace, it can involve:

  • Treating employees differently, unequally or unfairly
  • Implementing non-standard employment practices for employees because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Harassment, teasing and instigating by coworkers or supervisors.
  • Using slurs specifically about your gender identity or orientation.
  • Implementation of requirements to dress and groom in a manner that does not apply to one’s identified gender.

Under California law, if a workplace has single-occupancy restrooms, they must be available to everyone, regardless of gender identity.  It is also a violation of California law for employers to take adverse employment actions against employees on the basis of their gender identity, such as firing, demoting, denial of promotion and denial of career opportunities.

LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace requires the assistance of an experienced employment lawyer who understands your situation and the law.  If you have been harassed or the subject of adverse employment actions due to your sexual orientation, gender identify, sex reassignment surgery, dressing according to your identity, or gender expression, you could be the victim identity discrimination, which is illegal in California.  Contact our law firm for an evaluation of your case. We can help you understand whether or not you have grounds for a claim against your employer.