Understanding sexual orientation discrimination

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Along with prohibiting workplace discrimination due to race, religion, nationality, disability and age, there are federal laws that prohibit discrimination related to sex, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

Along with federal laws, some states and companies have additional laws or policies that address sexual orientation discrimination. Discrimination can take many forms, and some of the acts violate additional employment rights.

Protections against sexual orientation

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, discrimination against gender identity and sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law offers protections for the LGBT community in the workforce. Anyone who feels they have been a victim of this type, or any other, of discrimination should file a complaint to the EEOC.

According to FindLaw, if a company has policies in place regarding sexual orientation discrimination, these policies must be stricter than standards outlined by local, state or federal law. Currently, Pennsylvania does not have any additional laws that prohibit gender identity or sexual orientation discrimination.

Examples of sexual orientation discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination may include differential treatment or harassment. Examples of discrimination include:

  • Groundless employee improvement plans or write-ups
  • Name-calling
  • Snubbing of a promotion
  • Repetitive date requests
  • Ongoing comments regarding sex
  • Wrongful termination due to gender identity

Sometimes behaviors against sexual orientation or gender identity also cross borders with other employee rights. These include offensive touching, privacy invasion, defamation, sexual harassment, threat of offensive touch, purposeful infliction of emotional distress and employment contract interference. Basically, any verbal or physical act that leads to a hostile work environment may constitute sexual orientation discrimination.