Perceived Sexual Orientation Harassment
It’s not just illegal to harass someone who is gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual, but also to subject to a hostile, intimidating and abusive working or educational environment someone merely perceived to be so, even if that individual is not in fact a member of a sexual minority at all.
Why? Because in New Jersey, discrimination based upon homophobia is so repugnant to us that we want it stopped, even when the tormentor has it wrong. It’s not OK to humiliate, denigrate, threaten, abuse or intimidate someone who is not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, whether the tormentor thinks the person is, or also when the tormentor knows the person isn’t but wants to humiliate the victim as if he or she is.
Whether the tormentor is wrong about you, or knows you’re not GLBT but wants to embarrass you as if you were, as if being so were a bad thing, you have the right to be protected in work and in school from this type of harassment. You have the right to claim compensatory and punitive damages against employers and educators who permit this.
The New Jersey Civil Rights and Education lawyers at Costello & Mains are known throughout the state, the region and the country for arguing these types of attribution and perception cases.