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Standing up against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination |

According to a recent Center for American Progress report, LGBTQI+ individuals continue to face significant discrimination in various aspects of life, including employment. If you feel uncomfortable, undervalued or even threatened at your workplace because of your sexual orientation, it might be a sign of discrimination. Recognizing the potential red flags is the first step to fighting for your rights.

Signs of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace can be subtle, which makes them hard to recognize. Here are five red flags to watch out for:

  • Harassment: Do you receive derogatory comments, offensive jokes or slurs about your sexual orientation or gender identity?
  • Unequal Treatment: Are you treated differently in terms of promotions, assignments or other job opportunities?
  • Hostile Work Environment: Does your workplace tolerate behavior that makes you uncomfortable or interferes with your ability to do your job?
  • Denial of Benefits or Privileges: Is your employer denying you benefits or privileges, such as health benefits for same-sex partners, which are available to other employees?
  • Termination: Were you terminated because of your sexual orientation?

If you are experiencing these signs, do not be afraid to speak up. There are laws in place to protect you from discrimination.

Responding to sexual orientation discrimination

There are steps you can take to address sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. To start with, document every incident, noting the date, time, location, people involved and details of what happened. Review your company’s policies for prohibitions against such discrimination and file a complaint with your HR department if necessary. If things do not work out, you can raise it with the D.C. Office of Human Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or comparable agencies in those other states that also prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. Consider speaking with an employment law attorney for guidance on seeking justice.

Why seek legal help?

You have the right to a safe and respectful workplace. If you believe you are a victim of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, remember that you do not have to face this alone. An attorney experienced in employment law can provide valuable guidance and support. By recognizing the signs of discrimination and taking appropriate action, you can stand up for your rights and contribute to a safer, more inclusive work environment.

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