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Sexual Orientation Termination
In the workplace, you hope to be evaluated according to your work performance and skills, rather than your sexual orientation. Unfortunately, some employers are biased or bigoted, and they may make important decisions, including layoffs or firing, contingent on aspects of a worker’s identity, such as their sexual orientation. If you received a wrongful termination due to sexual orientation, you should consult a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer at the Kokozian Law Firm.Wrongful Termination due to Sexual Orientation
Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it is illegal for an employer to terminate you because of your actual or perceived sexual orientation. Cal. Gov. Code Section 12926(q) includes bisexuality, homosexuality, and heterosexuality as sexual orientations. It is unlawful for your employer to make an employment decision based on what it perceives as your sexual orientation, even if that is not your actual sexual orientation. For instance, if your employer assumes that you are gay and terminates you, this would be sexual orientation discrimination even if you were, in fact, heterosexual.
Additionally, you should not be terminated for complaining about sexual orientation harassment. Harassment that is severe or pervasive enough to change the workplace may constitute a hostile work environment. You should use any channels available to you for complaining to your employer about this harassment without fear of retribution. You should not be fired for voicing a complaint about the harassment. Both FEHA and Title VII, which is a federal law, include anti-retaliation provisions.
To show that your termination was retaliatory under FEHA, your attorney would need to show that you engaged in a protected activity, you were terminated, and there was a causal link between the protected activity and the termination.Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held that sexual orientation discrimination is a type of sex discrimination and thus is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers that have a minimum of 15 employees. To hold an employer accountable for wrongful termination due to sexual orientation under federal law, you would need to first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In most situations, state law is more favorable to employees who are alleging sexual orientation discrimination, since damages under Title VII are capped. However, each situation is different, and in certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to pursue a claim under Title VII.Gender Stereotypes and Sexual Orientation
Employers may not provide a straight answer about why you were terminated. They may know that sexual orientation discrimination is illegal and therefore will be careful not to point to sexual orientation as the reason for the termination. Sexual orientation discrimination may be occurring at your work if your employer restricts advancement for people believed to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual, your employer suggests that you use your sexual orientation to gain favor with clients, your employer jokes about sexual orientation, your employer engages in sexual harassment, your employer segregates workers based on their perceived sexuality, your employer makes workers perceived to be homosexual perform different tasks than those believed to be heterosexual, or your employer shares homophobic cartoons or memes.
State and federal laws prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s refusal to conform to gender stereotypes. This issue arises frequently in connection with sexual orientation discrimination. Sometimes remarks couched in sex stereotyping are evidence of sexual orientation discrimination. For instance, if you are lesbian, and your employer terminates you after seeing your date at the office holiday party because you “don’t act like a woman,” this may be sexual orientation discrimination.Consult Our Los Angeles Attorneys
California courts take sexual orientation discrimination seriously. You should not be in fear for your livelihood because of your personal relationships. If you were terminated from a job due to your sexual orientation, you should talk about the viability of your claim with the experienced attorneys at the Kokozian Law Firm. We represent people in Los Angeles and throughout California. Call us at 323.857.5900 or contact us via our online form.