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Illustrative image depicting a situation of potential sexual orientation discrimination in a New York City office.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Illegal in New York State

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Sexual Orientation Discrimination Law Cases.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination in New York State

Have you been a victim of Sexual Orientation Discrimination at work in New York City or New York State

Discrimination based on sexual orientation can occur in New York City workplaces, regardless of whether you are gay, straight, bisexual, or trans. Such activities are prohibited under federal and state laws.

Illustrative image depicting a situation of potential sexual orientation discrimination in a New York City office.

Illustrative image depicting a situation of potential sexual orientation discrimination in a New York City office.

For example, suppose an employee or applicant is harassed or discriminated against because of a same-sex partner by an employer, CEO, supervisor, manager, employee, client, customer, salesperson, or non-employee. In that case, they may be the victim of discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Regardless of your sexuality, you have the right to speak about your sexual orientation publicly without retaliation or discrimination at the workplace. If an employer, CEO, supervisor, manager, employee, customer, salesperson, or non-employee unfairly treats or harasses you because of your sexual orientation or perception, they are breaking the law. As an employee or applicant, your sexual orientation should not play a role in employment decisions.

Laws For Sexual Orientation Discrimination

In New York City, both local and federal laws exist that protect employees’ sexual orientation. Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, sexual orientation is protected from all forms of discrimination based on sex. In addition, it prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against you based on sexual orientation.

Federal employees are protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation under the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act and the Executive Order 13087 of 1998. Anyone who in any capacity works for the federal government is protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation. In addition, the New York Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in New York City prohibits discrimination against employees who are part of the LGBTQ community.

If you are a victim of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace in New York City, you need evidence to take your case to court. Three types of evidence can help prove your case: direct, disparate, and policy.

Direct evidence must be oral or written and directly addressed to you.

Disparate evidence is the most common form of evidence. With disparate evidence, you must establish a link between unfair treatment or harassment and your sexual orientation. It is a cause-and-effect relationship that proves a culture of discriminatory behavior in the office. An example would be a company highlighting that gay, lesbian, or queer employees are not promoted above a certain level and that you, as a gay, lesbian, or queer employee, have been denied a promotion. Policy evidence is any policy, written or otherwise, that leads to discrimination by those who pursue this policy.

For example, a policy might give employees who marry a member of the opposite sex life insurance for the entire family. Such a policy would discriminate without the same compensation for same-sex couples.

Nor does it necessarily matter whether the person who discriminates against you is a member of the LGBTQ community. Here are some examples of discrimination based on sexual orientation that can occur in the workplace:

  • You are demoted because your supervisor found out you are gay.
  • Your boss refuses to put you on a project for a straight client because you are gay, or vice versa.
  • Your manager fires you because you complained about your treatment.
  • Your boss refuses to offer your same-sex spouse benefits entitled to heterosexual couples.
  • Your boss outs you even though you asked for privacy.
  • Your co-worker keeps sending offensive emails with gay jokes.
  • A supervisor tells you that you are not gay enough.
  • A co-worker keeps asking you on a date even though you have repeatedly told them NO.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC)

If you want to file a claim for discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation under Title VII, you can submit it to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate the claim under Title VII guidelines before giving you the right to sue by letter. After you receive the letter, you have 80 days to file a complaint with the Federal Court.

You have a year from the date of the last discrimination incident in New York state law. Also, you can file a lawsuit with the New York State Human Rights Division. Their other option is to bring the complaint to court. The period to bring the case to state court is three years from the date of the discrimination incident.

If you file a discrimination claim against your employer in federal court, it can take between six months to a year, depending on the details of the case. A trial can last from a few days to several weeks or more before a verdict. It can take up to eight months or even a year to prepare for the trial. Your employer may be willing to negotiate a fair settlement. In this instance, your case could be settled in just 4-6 months.

If your company has a policy of discrimination based on sexual orientation, follow it. If you are employed, do not terminate your employment without consulting your lawyer. If your company has a human resources department, send a complaint in writing about discrimination based on sexual orientation. Contact an experienced lawyer immediately for discrimination based on gender and orientation.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Your time to make a claim is limited. Document everything, including what happened, when it happened, who was involved, and who witnessed it.

You have the right to live as you wish. No employer should treat or harass you differently because you are gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, identify as non-binary, or are heterosexual.

An attorney at Stillman Legal can help if you are a victim of sexual orientation discrimination in New York City. Contact us today for your free consultation. We don’t collect anything until you win!

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