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Orange County Sexual
Orientation Discrimination Lawyer


Orange County Sexual Orientation Discrimination LawyerFor decades, LGBTQ employees were forced to either hide their sexual orientation at work or face potential workplace discrimination. Luckily, increased social awareness and strengthened federal, state and local laws have significantly improved the situation. As a result, sexual orientation discrimination is a rapidly growing area of workplace discrimination law in Orange County and across the United States. Employees who believe they are being discriminated against due to their real or perceived sexual orientation could contact a sexual discrimination attorney for help.

What is sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace?

Workplace sexual orientation discrimination occurs when employees are subjected to negative treatment by employers or co-workers solely because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of someone they’re closely associated with. This type of discrimination can impact a worker’s job security, job status, workplace environment, access to favorable job assignments, health benefits, access to promotions, ability to obtain pay raises and much more. It can also affect workers of any sexual orientation, including those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual or heterosexual.

Examples of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace

Workplace sexual orientation discrimination can appear in many forms, and employees can help protect themselves by learning the signs. Some common examples include:

  • Denying a job to an applicant due to his or her sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation
  • Giving poor performance reviews because of an employee’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation
  • Denying a raise, promotion or favorable job assignment due to an employee’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation
  • Denying training opportunities due to an employee’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation
  • Subjecting an employee to bullying, harassment or slurs due to his or her sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation
  • Retaliating against an employee for filing a sexual orientation discrimination complaint at work or with a federal or state agency
  • Firing an employee solely because of his or her sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation

Orange County employees who encounter these or other forms of workplace discrimination could contact a sexual orientation discrimination attorney for assistance.

What laws offer protection against sexual orientation discrimination?

Unlike other forms of workplace discrimination, including discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability, sexual orientation discrimination is not explicitly prohibited under federal law. However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, has taken the position that the sex discrimination protections offered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 cover sexual orientation. In addition, multiple federal courts have upheld this position. So far, the EEOC has collected nearly $6.5 million in monetary relief for LGBTQ employees who have suffered workplace discrimination.

In 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that created sexual orientation and gender identity protections for all federal workers, contractors, and subcontractors. Until that order was signed, federal workers were only shielded from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

On the state level, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, or the FEHA, expressly prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. This means that employers cannot take any discriminatory actions against an employee because of his or her real or perceived sexual orientation. It also means employers cannot fire or otherwise retaliate against employees for reporting or complaining about on-the-job sexual orientation discrimination. Employees who suffer such treatment can contact a sexual orientation discrimination lawyer for advice.

Is there a difference between sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination?

Yes. Workplace sexual orientation discrimination involves discriminatory treatment based on an employee’s status as a gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual or heterosexual individual. Workplace gender identity discrimination is unfair treatment based on an employee’s self-identification as male, female or non-binary. According to the EEOC, both types of discrimination are banned under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In California, both kinds of discrimination are prohibited under the FEHA.

Sexual orientation discrimination statistics

According to nonprofit LGBTQ workplace advocacy group Out & Equal, 25 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees have reported some form of employment discrimination in the last five years. Meanwhile, around 10 percent of LGBTQ employees have left a job because they felt unwelcome, and almost 53 percent of them say that discrimination negatively impacts their work environment. In 2014, around 25 percent of all LGBTQ adults, or 2.2 million people, had difficulty making enough money to buy food and other basic necessities.

Do I need to hire a sexual orientation discrimination lawyer?

California has robust protections for LGBTQ workers, and there are more federal protections for LGBTQ workers than at any other point in U.S. history. Employees who have been targeted at work because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation could be owed compensation for various damages, including lost wages, lost benefits and emotional distress. If an employer acted egregiously in a case, an employee could also be owed punitive damages.

An Orange County sexual orientation discrimination attorney could carefully assess an employee’s case and explain all legal remedies available. If the employee chooses to file a complaint with the EEOC or the FEHA, an attorney could help gather evidence supporting the claim and push for the maximum settlement amount possible.  Contact Rizio Lipinsky Heiting today for your free initial consultation.

  • This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.
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A Review of Rizio Lipinsky Heiting
Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer
Standing up for what is right

I was the victim of harassment at my place of work, based on my same sex relationship and my status as a gay male. I was taunted, called names, humiliated in front of co-workers by my supervisors and manager. When I told my H.R rep and district H.R they did nothing. The last straw was when my H.R and supervisor started telling the general workforce about my sexual status and if they've ever seen me in any lude acts. That's when I took legal acting against the company. Daren was recommend to me by a friend, so i looked him up and read his profile. I was looking for a lawyer who had experience in labor relations, sexual harassment and harassment based on sexual orientation and he fit the bill.

From our first meeting, he made me feel comfortable discussing the full details of what was happening to me at work. He took notes and kept me composed during every meeting we had. He gave me realistic time frames for what was to come moving forward. Standing up to my harassers was not easy but Daren assured me that I was making things better for myself and others.

Fast forward several months.... Litigation time. He prepared me about the environment we were about to enter. I was extremely nervous and excited at the same time. I wanted to tell the "Big Brown company" I have worked for and still do what they've done to me and how wrong they were to treat me and many others like me that way. So they had the TEAM of lawyers and the district H.R manger on one side and Daren and I on the other. Daren's words were sharp, clear and to the point. To make a long story short, we came to a very fare settlement. I did not loose any wages and still had my job which I've held for 17 yrs.

In the end I left really good for what I've done and I owe it all to Daren, for taking my case, knowing the law and caring for peoples rights in today's society.

- 2012-08-03 - Avvo
Five Star Rating  5/5
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