Defending LGBTQ+ Workers’ Rights
Being discriminated against in the workplace can be a stressful and isolating experience. Your employer must follow anti-discrimination laws to avoid any unfair treatment of their employees. Unfortunately, not all employers follow these laws, and many individuals have their rights infringed upon without realizing they can take legal action. In Missouri, employers cannot discriminate against any employee because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
If you have been discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against in the workplace, you deserve to seek compensation. At Riggan Law Firm, LLC, our team of experienced attorneys can help you learn more about your rights as an employee to be treated the way you deserve. Please don’t feel like you must go through this challenging time on your own. Contact our office today by calling 314-528-9661.
What is Sexual Orientation Discrimination?
Sexual orientation discrimination is the act of treating an employee differently due to their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation encompasses heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, and all other sexualities on the spectrum. These sexualities can be actual or perceived in the workplace.
Employers cannot use an employee’s sexual orientation to make decisions about any of the following:
- Salary or wages
Missouri state laws only apply to public sector employees. If you are a private sector employee, you must rely on local ordinances and federal law that prohibit this discrimination. It can be argued that discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation is a human rights violation under federal law. If you are facing sexual discrimination in the workplace, our experienced team will review your case and present your legal options for moving forward.
What Are Some Examples of Sexual Orientation Discrimination?
Sexual orientation discrimination can come in many forms in the workplace. While you can experience sexual orientation discrimination in a variety of ways, there are some scenarios that our team often sees.
Below are some common examples of sexual orientation discrimination:
- Harassing an employee at work because of their sexuality
- An employer refusing to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment of an employee
- Refusing to hire an employee because of their sexual orientation
- Transferring an employee to another department because of their sexuality
- Reducing an employee’s hours because of their sexuality
- Denying an employee’s promotion or raise because of their sexuality
Harassment, while technically different than discrimination, is a form of sexual orientation discrimination under the law. Harassment can be verbal and physical and could include crude jokes, inappropriate touching, inappropriate questioning, or unfavorable treatment. All employees deserve to be treated the same, and you deserve to feel safe and respected at work. Harassment in the workplace is against the law, and our team can help you seek legal action if you’ve faced any negativity due to your sexual orientation.
Does Missouri Offer Protection from Sexual Orientation Discrimination?
Many states have enacted new laws and ordinances to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination in the workplace. While Missouri has not explicitly banned sexual orientation discrimination for all, Missouri’s governor did prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation for government-based employees. Multiple bills have been proposed to add sexual orientation to Missouri’s non-discrimination statute, but they have been unsuccessful thus far.
Even if you are a private sector employee, sexual orientation discrimination is still against the law. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on any protected class, including sexual orientation. Similarly, sexual orientation discrimination may be considered a human rights violation. There are many legal avenues to pursue if you have faced discrimination in the workplace, and our team can help you find the right one for your case.
What Should You Do if You Experience Sexual Orientation Discrimination?
Experiencing sexual orientation discrimination can be a frightening experience. If you have faced discrimination in the workplace, there are some steps you can take if you feel safe doing so. If you have questions about any of these steps or are concerned about your rights, our team can advise you further.
If you are experiencing sexual orientation discrimination, take the following steps:
- Consult your company handbook. In your handbook, there should be a policy regarding harassment or discrimination. Read the policy thoroughly to be sure you understand it before following its suggested steps.
- Report the discrimination to Human Resources. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can make a report about the discrimination you have faced to your Human Resources department. Reporting the harassment creates a paper trail that could be useful in a lawsuit later on.
- Consult our team of experienced employment law attorneys. In many cases, employers will not take the necessary steps to prevent or punish sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. If you have tried the steps above or are unsure whether they would work in your situation, contact our office for more assistance.
Can an Employment Law Lawyer Help Me?
Facing discrimination based on your sexual orientation can make you feel powerless in the workplace. If your employer is refusing to treat you equally or your coworkers are making harassing remarks, you have rights that are being violated under the law. An employment law lawyer on our team will explain your rights to you and help you create a legal strategy to get the outcome you deserve.
Our attorneys at Riggan Law Firm, LLC, have years of experience in the employment law industry. We know how to create a solid legal strategy to hold your employer accountable for discrimination and harassment. If you have faced discrimination because of your sexual orientation in Missouri, you are not alone. Contact our office today by calling 314-528-9661 to learn more about our team and how we can help you.