Recognizing LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace
LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. Some forms of mistreatment will be overt and obvious, while other types of discriminatory behavior can be more difficult to detect.
Examples of LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace include:
- You are denied access to the restroom consistent with your chosen gender identity. The law requires that employers allow you to use whatever restroom that is consistent with your expressed gender identity.
- You are subject to homophobic or transphobic slurs and other unwanted comments. You are entitled to a workplace free of hostility and discrimination. Your employer must take action if your peers’ comments or behaviors create a hostile work environment. If your supervisors refuse to intervene or engage in discriminatory behavior themselves, you likely have an LGBTQ discrimination claim.
- You are treated differently after coming out or once your sexual orientation or gender identity has been disclosed. It is not always obvious that your expressed gender is not consistent with the one that you were assigned at birth. Your sexual orientation may also not be apparent until your colleagues or supervisor learn about your partner. If you notice that your colleagues and/or supervisors suddenly begin treating you differently after your orientation or identity becomes apparent, you may be at risk of LGBTQ discrimination.
- You are demoted, disciplined, or mistreated as a result of your sexual orientation or gender identity. An employer cannot retaliate against you for your sexual orientation or gender identity. If you abruptly become the subject of one or more otherwise unjustifiable adverse actions, your employer may be unlawfully targeting you because of your LGBTQ status.
- You are refused a promotion as a result of your LGBTQ status. An employer cannot deny or refuse to consider you for a promotion as a result of your sexual orientation or gender identity. If you were scheduled to advance but had your promotion canceled after your status was disclosed or became apparent, you may have experienced LGBTQ discrimination.
- You are wrongfully terminated because of your LGBTQ status. Your employer cannot fire you because of your gender expression or sexual identity. If you demonstrate good work performance but are abruptly terminated or laid off after experiencing other signs of LGBTQ discrimination, there is a good chance that you were wrongfully terminated.
Filing an LGBTQ Discrimination Claim
In addition to attempting to navigate an internal dispute resolution system, you have the right to file LGBTQ discrimination complaints on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). Both of these agencies will conduct investigations and may attempt to compel your employer to settle your case.
Should settlement efforts fail, EEOC or BOLI can elect to pursue litigation on your behalf. If they decline to file a lawsuit or decide there is not enough evidence to prove LGBTQ-related discrimination, you will have the opportunity to file your own lawsuit against your employer within 90 days of their decision.
Our Portland LGBTQ discrimination attorneys at Bullman Law Firm are committed to fighting the largest corporations and are ready to do everything we can to help you with your claim. We are familiar with EEOC and BOLI adjudicate LGBTQ-involved cases and can represent you in all investigations and lawsuits that result from your complaint. Our team strives to serve our more vulnerable communities and will leverage our years of experience to help you fight for justice.