Workplace Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity And Gender Expression
In the recent past, LGBTQ rights were more of a dream than a reality. We’ve come a long way in the fight to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from the social stigma, threat of arrest, accusations of perversion and violence that used to be widely tolerated or even encouraged. But we haven’t come far enough. It’s still all too common to find people willing to openly bash, denigrate and isolate LGBTQ people. It’s even more common to find people engaging in this behavior in more subtle and insidious ways. This often manifests itself in workplace discrimination and harassment.
LGBTQ Discrimination And The Law
Federal law still doesn’t offer protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for sexual orientation or transgender status. The effort to fix this omission, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), meant to end this type of discrimination on a national level, still hasn’t passed. That there could even be opposition to this necessary correction of federal law tells you all you need to know about prevailing attitudes when it comes to LBGT discrimination.
Happily, New Jersey is a progressive enough state that we long ago passed the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), a comprehensive civil rights statute that prevents, among other types of discrimination, workplace harassment, workplace discrimination, school harassment and school discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, gender role and transgender status. Thus even if you’re not “out,” but suspected to be LGBTQ by virtue of how you dress, act or express yourself, you have protection under the LAD.
That means that in New Jersey, you do not have to tolerate discrimination, abuse and humiliation at work. You do not have to tolerate the insults. You do not have to tolerate the nasty jokes or threats. It is illegal to subject you to this abuse and your employer can and should be held accountable.
We Fight To Protect And Expand The Rights Of The LGBTQ Community
Kevin Costello, Deborah Mains and Daniel Silverman have been defending LGBTQ rights for most of their civil rights careers. They have earned statewide and national recognition for their efforts. The South Jersey employment and civil rights law firm of Costello & Mains believes deeply that every individual simply is who he or she is. The law must protect that cherished human right. Antiquated views of gender and sexual orientation must not be allowed to deny individuals their rights in and out of the workplace.