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Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Employment Lawyers Assisting the Dallas LGBTQ+ Community

Employees should be judged on their work performance, rather than their sexual orientation. Unfortunately, employers sometimes do make important decisions based on an employee’s sexual orientation. Whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or asexual, you deserve to work in a place that is free from sexual orientation discrimination. These cases can be tricky in Texas. If you are harmed by sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, you should consult a skillful Dallas sexual orientation discrimination lawyer at Rob Wiley P.C.

Legal Grounds for Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claims

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that enforces many federal anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC has stated that sexual orientation discrimination is one type of sex discrimination prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII mandates that employers with at least 15 employees cannot make adverse employment decisions against a job applicant or employee based on his or her sex. It prohibits sexual harassment, including same-sex sexual harassment.

Title VII also protects against sexual stereotyping. For example, an employer covered by Title VII cannot discriminate against a male employee for presenting in too feminine a way, and an employer cannot look the other way if the male employee is being harassed by coworkers for presenting in too feminine a way. In 2013, the Fifth Circuit explicitly ruled that gender stereotype workplace discrimination constitutes sex discrimination. Recently, a federal judge in Texas noted in a decision that LGBTQ employees should be protected against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as gender identity. A sexual orientation discrimination attorney at our Dallas firm can explain the direction that this type of case might take.

Appellate courts have agreed with the EEOC that a prohibition against sexual orientation discrimination is implied in Title VII. The law in this area continues to develop quickly. Case law has often found that employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on stereotypes about gender, and this line of reasoning can protect LGBTQ individuals. For example, an employer is not allowed to fire you, demote you, or suspend you because you are a woman who does not seem feminine enough or does not otherwise match up to the type of gender presentation that the employer expects.

Controversy surrounding legal protections for LGBTQ+ workers will continue until the Supreme Court rules on the issue or Congress passes a law. Our Dallas sexual orientation discrimination attorneys stay up to date with these developments in the law.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Congress has been considering the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Equality Act, which would explicitly protect employees based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation. There are also some counties and municipalities that have passed laws and ordinances prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination. This includes the City of Dallas as well as Tarrant County. There are also situations in which collective bargaining agreements have been made in which an employer has promised not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Employee handbooks may include promises not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Filing a Charge

In order to sue under Title VII, you would need to first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the law. A charge is a signed statement claiming that your employer discriminated against you. The charge asks the EEOC to take action. There is a strict time limit to file a charge with the EEOC. We strongly recommend working with an employment lawyer before going to the EEOC. This is particularly true in the evolving area of LGBTQ+ rights.

In our experience, the Dallas EEOC does accept and pursue investigations of sexual orientation discrimination claims if they are properly drafted by an attorney.

Consult an Experienced Employment Discrimination Attorney

The gender of a person to whom you are attracted should not affect how you are treated when you are applying for a job or any other aspect of your employment. Sexual orientation discrimination in Texas workplaces is harmful and degrading. If you have suffered from discrimination at your job, you may have remedies, depending on your particular circumstances. You should consult an experienced sexual orientation discrimination lawyer in the Dallas area. Call us at (214) 528-6500 or complete our online form.

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