Articles Posted in LGBT discrimination

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments in three cases alleging LGBTQ workplace discrimination. In an amicus brief (documents filed in appellate matters by non-litigants – or amicus curiae – with a strong interest in the stakes), some of the biggest U.S. companies urged the court to rule that federal civil rights law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning workers. LGBTQ discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

In their brief, more than 200 companies in all argued that their own corporate anti-discrimination policies cannot serve as an adequate substitute to the law. It is the position of these companies – among them Amazon, Bank of America, Microsoft, Starbucks and Walt Disney – that LGBTQ workers have inherent protections under existing federal rights law.

Most argue this in the context of gender discrimination, but the problem is is no express terminology from the legislature opining these rights exist in U.S. law. That has resulted in courts in different jurisdictions reaching inconsistent conclusions. Continue reading

Protection from workplace discrimination has expanded ten-fold in the last 70 year, reflective of our cultural progress within that time. Women, people of color, those of all faiths, ages and nationalities – are shielded under state and federal statutes from adverse employment action on these bases. LGBT discrimination attorney

Yet even as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals still are entitled to the fewest employment protections under the law. California, at least, is known as one of if not the most LGBT-friendly states for workers whose sexuality or gender identity does not adhere to “traditional” norms.

The California Fair Housing and Employment Act expressly protects workers and applicants on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Federal law, unfortunately, does not, and many states don’t have the supplemental protections that California enjoys.

That doesn’t mean of course that workers still don’t face these challenges, but with an experienced LGBT employment discrimination attorney to help fight back, your odds of success are much more favorable. Continue reading

California is known for its progressive stances on a myriad of issues, including civil rights of LGBTQ individuals. That doesn’t mean they don’t face down discrimination at work or everyday life. What it does mean, though, is that workers LGBTQ workers can successfully fight back on such injustices, a goal to which our LGBTQ employment discrimination attorneys in Los Angeles are committed. Los Angeles LGBTQ Discrimination Attorney

Recently in Hesperia, a teacher was awarded a significant financial settlement after she was allegedly retaliated against with termination for helping LGBTQ students blow the whistle on their mistreatment by school administrators. The former high school English teacher was awarded an $850,000 settlement – and a promise to improve school policies.

The case was filed in 2015, when the ACLU of Southern California contacted the district with allegations of a hostile learning environment for gay and lesbian students. The district has since agreed to review and alter its policies, mandating administrators and staff undergo training on discrimination and clarifying its anti-discrimination procedures and policies. Continue reading

Discrimination of transgender professionals is nothing new, though Californians may not realize the employment protections trans workers are afforded in this state don’t apply to all.transgender discrimination lawyer

That’s because even as the California Fair Housing and Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of one’s sexuality, gender and gender identity, the federal government does not. But military personnel who are transgender went from being told at the tail end of the Obama administration that they could serve openly and have access to psychological and gender-affirming medical care, the Trump administration has effectively ushered in a new “don’t ask, don’t tell” phase for service members who are transgender.

As noted in a report by the non-partisan Palm Center, while this is not a “ban,” neither was “don’t ask, don’t tell” under former President Bill Clinton. Nonetheless, both policies did/will have the impact of systematically removing transgender individuals from the military or, just like DADT, ensure their gender identity is kept silent and invisible.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission still continues to insist (as it was prior to Trump’s election) that LGBT discrimination in employment was a form of gender discrimination under Title VII. That stance has been resisted by the Department of Justice under Trump, though several courts have sided with the EEOC on this. Nonetheless, the transgender military policy formally went into effect this month. Continue reading

It is illegal – in California and across the U.S., per the EEOC –  to discriminate against a job applicant based on their race, color, religion, gender (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy) national origin, age (over 40), disability or genetic information. Yet one of the most frequently-used forums to lure new hires has essentially been facilitating just that, according to critics and a few employment lawsuits filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Communication Workers of America. Los Angeles employment discrimination attorney

Social media giant Facebook has faced years of criticism that it allowed companies advertising job listings to use key categories allowing employers to cherry-pick who their ads would be shown to based on age group, gender and race. The New York Times now reports Facebook has agreed it will stop doing this.

It’s not just prospective employees that have been complaining either. Those advertising credit and housing have also been allowed to screen their ads so that they would only show to a certain subset of social media users. (Housing and credit are also regulated by federal anti-discrimination laws that bar selection of applicants on such bases.) Continue reading

In order to be successful in claiming employment discrimination in California, employees must first assert they are part of a protected class that received unfair treatment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains that to discriminate means to treat someone less favorably and disparately, with federal protections extending to individuals on the basis of gender, religion, color, race, national origin, disability or age (over 40). In California, unlawful practices spelled out by the Fair Employment and Housing Act 12940 outlines protections for these classes, but also for:

  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Gender identity/gender expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Military or veteran statusemployment discrimination attorney Los Angeles

Part of the reason California’s additional protected classes matter is they go farther than federal law, giving unfairly-treated employees more options to pursue action.

As Los Angeles employment discrimination attorneys can explain, “protected classes” aren’t merely limited to minorities. But employment discrimination is often subtle – and doesn’t necessarily need to actually be a part of a protected class in order to be protected. Discrimination based on the perception of belonging or association with others in these classes can be actionable in California employment discrimination cases too.

Perceived Protected Class Employment Discrimination Continue reading

Next month, newly-elected Democrats will be seated in the U.S. House of Representatives, and current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, likely next Speaker of the House, has vowed to make a priority of establishing widespread equal rights for LGBTQ individuals – including anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. As our Los Angeles LGBTQ discrimination attorneys can explain, polling evidence shows that since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 ruled same sex couples are constitutionally allowed to marry, public support for LGBTQ rights has surged and religious resistance has waned. And while California and 19 other states already have anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ workers, there has never been a federal equality law for these individuals. lgbtq discrimination attorney

The Obama administration did extend some protections, issuing guidelines that protected transgender students and taking the firm position that Title VII’s law regarding gender-based employment protections apply to LGBTQ people. The Trump administration summarily began tearing that all down, banning transgender people from the military, broadening religious exemptions for federal contractors who discriminate against LGBTQ people, proposing a repeal of Section 1557 that protected transgender people from health care discrimination, arguing Title VII law does NOT extend protection to transgender workers and issuing numerous executive orders effectively rolling back LGBTQ rights.

Our LGBTQ discrimination attorneys in Los Angeles and others have been fighting back in the courts, but a federal Equality Act would offer clear, decisive protections nationwide.

Historical Fight for LGBTQ Equality 

By-and-large, the hammer of the courts has fallen squarely on the side of LGBTQ worker rights and protections. A new law would help cement very explicit protections for people based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas like employment, education, housing, credit, public accommodations, jury service and a number of federal programs. Continue reading

If you are a transgender person living in America today, chances are you have some grave concerns about the current political climate – specifically with regard to transgender discrimination in the workplace. As longtime Los Angeles gender discrimination attorneys, it’s been difficult to see certain federal-level protections wane or threatened, especially because they weren’t all that solid to start. What you need to know as a transgender person in California is that this state does have protections, even if federal authorities ultimately decide to narrow the definition of gender for Title IX purposes, which bans discrimination in education, and Title VII federal civil rights employment discrimination. As L.A. employment attorneys can explain, these protections are based on five different categories – which includes gender.transgender discrimination lawyer Los Angeles

Federal Government May Limit Transgender Employee Protections

A number of recent reports indicate that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is getting ready to formally present a proposal to the Justice Department before the close of this year that would more strictly define gender as binary – a biological, immutable condition defined by the genitalia with which one is born. Of course, almost every transgender person will tell you that they did not “choose” to their gender identity, but rather it chose them. This is very similar to sexual orientation, though this is a wholly separate issue from gender identity.

Despite the fact that the American Medical Association has debunked any notion that trans people aren’t fit to serve in the U.S. military or that gender dysphoria (distress arising from a perceived mismatch of the gender with which one was born versus the one with which one identifies) is a problem that can’t be alleviated with care. Some political groups have gone so far as to disguise junk science from an anti-LGBTQ group (American College of Pediatricians) as the longstanding, respected and gender-affirming American Academy of Pediatrics. Continue reading

U.S. and California law provide very specific discrimination protections for employees who have historically been the greatest targets. Typically, these are women, racial minorities, older workers and those with disabilities. We’ve come a long way in the last 50- to- 60-years in ensuring California workers aren’t fired, demoted, transferred or miss out on key benefits because of prejudice by their employers. However, a key component of those protections is the worker’s classification. Those who are classified as “employees” are entitled to a host of employment law protections – everything from minimum wages and regular mandated breaks to reasonable accommodations if one one’s pregnancy requires restrictions. Los Angeles employment attorneys often have to explain another important protection denied independent contractors: Anti-discrimination laws. workplace discrimination Los Angeles

Approximately 1 in 7 jobs in America is classified as independent contractor or some other contingent-employment arrangement. This amounts to millions of Americans – roughly 14 percent in all, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – whose work as freelancers, consultants, temporary agency laborers and contractors who are denied protections against discrimination for their age, race, gender, religion and disability. So for instance, while most employees can expect to be protected from age discrimination from their employer when they reach the age of 40, a freelancer has no such guarantee.

There are some analyses that suggest the unprotected workforce could be even larger. For instance, the California-based Staffing Industry Analysts recently released information indicating roughly 30 percent of American workers could be counted in the “contingent workforce.” The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission makes it clear that anti-discrimination statutes exempt independent contractors as well as those working for employment agencies. Sometimes, anti-discrimination protections depend on the number of employees a company has.  Continue reading

California is one of the few states that prohibits transgender discrimination in housing and employment. Cal. Gov’t. Code Section 12940(a) stipulates it’s unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or employ someone or to discharge from employment or to discriminate against a person in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges because of one’s gender identity. transgender discrimination

However, many other states lack such protections, and now, one transgender discrimination in employment case out of Michigan could go before the U.S. Supreme Court, potentially making it lawful for workplaces around the country to take adverse employment actions against workers on the basis of their sexual identity.

As reported by Lawrence-Journal World, the Kansas Attorney General is joining with officials from 15 other states, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to expressly declare transgender workers not protected by federal workplace anti-discrimination laws. In particular, they are requesting the U.S. Supreme Court reverse a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Michigan, which decided the word “sex” used in the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 – particularly in Title VII – does include transgender status and gender identity.  Continue reading