Many state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation. This means that an employer cannot discriminate against you based on your sexual orientation in any aspect of your employment, including hiring, firing, rate of pay, job assignments, when and whether you are promoted, and all other conditions of your employment. Sexual orientation discrimination refers to harassment or differential treatment based on someone’s perceived or actual gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or heterosexual orientation. The laws also protect employees who are perceived as having a particular sexual orientation, whether that perception is correct or not.
Depending on state law it may also be illegal for your coworkers to make offensive remarks or tease you about your sexual orientation, and if this occurs and your employer does nothing about it, your employer may have liability for failing to take prompt action.
The following are some examples of sexual orientation discrimination:
- You are not hired, denied a promotion, or fired because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, or because your employer thinks you are
- Your employer will not provide you with the same benefits that it provides to employees of other sexual orientations
- Your boss or co-workers constantly make fun of you, harass you, or treat you badly because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, or because they think you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual, and the company does nothing about it when you complain
Attorney David Cole served for approximately eight years as a Commissioner on New Hampshire’s Commission for Human Rights, the state agency that enforces New Hampshire’s discrimination laws in the workplace, and has aggressively advocated throughout New Hampshire and Vermont for victims of illegal discrimination and harassment in the workplace, in housing, and in their private lives for 30 years.
If you or someone you know needs legal assistance because they are the victim of sexual orientation discrimination, call our office at 800-909-LAWS (5297) or submit an online questionnaire through this website. All cases are subject to a statute of limitations that limit the dates by which a lawsuit may be brought, and discrimination cases have very short statutes of limitation, some as short as six months, so call without delay to ensure you do not waive your right to bring a lawsuit to enforce your rights.