Can I be fired for being gay? Are there laws protecting me from this type of discrimination in New York?
Unfortunately, sexual orientation discrimination exists in our country and has existed for quite some time. For many people, sexual orientation discrimination poses an obvious meaning, but do you really know the true meaning? Did you know that this type of discrimination applies to heterosexuals just as equally as to homosexuals? The following statement clearly and simplistically defines SOD: If you are harassed, or treated unfairly or differently because you are heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual (regardless of the environment) then you are experiencing sexual orientation discrimination. This means, you can be at home, at work and even in public when you experience sexual orientation discrimination.
Since this is such a widespread issue, you would think there would be federal laws in place to protect people from this type of discrimination; however, there is no federal law which bans sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. There are, however, other federal laws in existence which protect people from discrimination of religion, race, disability, sex, age, and national origin. Although many attempts have been made to pass such a law, all attempts to date have not succeeded. Members of Congress are finally moving in the right direction and with each passing year, more and more members are showing support for implementing a federal bill to provide some protection for this type of discrimination.
With that said, don’t fret! States offer more protection for SOD. A significant number of US states, nearly half, currently have laws in place that protect the public from sexual orientation discrimination in public work environments and some which also protect in private job environments. California, Washington, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, Illinois, Maine, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New Jersey, District of Columbia, and Maryland have laws in place that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.
There is an efforts underway to pass a federal law prohibiting Sexual Orientation Discrimination. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is being created to make it illegal for any employer to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identify. What do you do if you live in a state where there is no protection again sexual orientation discrimination? You should also be sure to check your local ordinances, as many counties and cities also prohibit SOD in the workplace.
You can also rely on our New York Discrimination Lawyers here at Castronovo & McKinney. We have experience in these types of cases and treat all our clients with respect and you can be assured of our confidentiality.