Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. The Act itself specifically prohibits discrimination against employees based upon their sex or sexual orientation. The Act further describes sex as including, “identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the individual’s sex at birth.”

An employer is prohibited from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender employees by terminating, laying off, demoting, or denying advancements or other privileges of employment based upon their protected status. An employer also may not refuse to hire employees based upon their status.

As with other claims of discrimination, a claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity can be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. This includes derogatory statements demonstrating bias against an individual or class of individuals based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. It also includes evidence that an employer, for example, favored non-LGBT employees over LGBT employees in termination decisions.

Siegel LeWitter Malkani is proud to represent gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees in their struggle to win equality in the workplace. Some of our cases include:

  • Representing Lauren Smedley, a new attorney, who had the courage to sue her employer, a Contra Costa law firm, when it fired her because some of its partners were uncomfortable when they learned she was gay.
  • Representing a transgender employee who—in addition to the loss of her job at a large corporate employer—was facing possible eviction from her home and a custody dispute with her ex-spouse, all arising out of the discriminatory termination of her employment.

If you believe Siegel LeWitter Malkani could provide assistance to you regarding your potential case for sexual orientation discrimination, please contact the firm.

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