San Diego Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer

San Diego Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Attorney in San Diego, CA

An estimated 7.2% of Americans are LGBT. While a significant portion of the workplace identifies as gay or queer, federal laws protecting homosexuals from workplace discrimination have only been in place since 1964. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This includes heterosexuality and homosexuality. This protection under the law is extended to gay, lesbian, and transgender workers. Due to robust state and federal protections, anyone who has been a victim of LGBT discrimination can defend their civil rights by hiring a San Diego LGBT discrimination lawyer.

It may be illegal for an employer to do any of the following based on sexual orientation:

  • Refuse to hire or promote
  • Firing, denying training, denying the opportunity for advancement, or otherwise treating an employee unequally
  • Harass an employee

Employers who violate these laws must pay the mistreated employee lost wages, medical expenses, attorney fees, and compensation for emotional and physical distress, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Am I Protected at My Workplace if I Choose to Transition?

In California, all job applicants, employees, interns, and contractors are fully protected from discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity. A private company cannot, for example, refuse to promote or hire someone because they are non-binary, transgender, or express their gender in non-traditional ways.

These protections include current workers, meaning anyone working for a company with five or more employees can transition to a different gender or non-gender while at work without fear of retaliation. If a worker undergoes gender transition, the employee is protected from harassment by anyone in the workplace or punitive measures, such as the refusal to promote someone based on their gender expression.

Which Laws Protect LGBT Workers in California?

California was the first state in the nation to legally recognize same-sex relationships. The Domestic Partnership Act of 1999 effectively extended the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples.

The law has implications for the workplace because HR departments must recognize same-sex marriages and provide those couples with the same benefits as heterosexual couples. In 2009, California’s governor signed the Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act, which recognized same-sex marriages performed outside of the state.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the workplace that harms members of the LGBT community. Work-related actions such as firing, job assignments, hiring, promotions, layoffs, and training cannot be discriminatory toward LGBT workers and clients.

Best San Diego LGBT Discrimination Lawyer

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney

Filing a complaint or taking legal action often requires the legal counsel of an experienced LGBT discrimination lawyer who represents you in court and advocates for you. Your LGBT discrimination attorney can research your case and investigate and gather evidence.

Accessing information like emails and HR documents are common tasks performed by a lawyer. Many cases are settled outside of court, and one important benefit of hiring an experienced attorney includes the option of negotiating favorable settlements. If the case does go to trial, a qualified attorney can represent you in court and argue on your behalf.

What Is the Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Defense?

One tactic your employer or former employer may use is known as the Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ). This refers to certain qualities, such as gender and gender expression, that employers and supervisors are allowed to take into account under the law when making employment decisions or hiring.

To successfully establish this defense, the employer must prove that the job requires a specific gender to efficiently and safely perform the job in question. This defense infers that hiring someone of a certain gender would make the job more dangerous to that worker and their co-workers.

This defense does not work when arguing that customers prefer one sex over the other. Only hiring men at a hardware store or solely women at a boutique store are two examples. Similarly, this defense doesn’t work when arguing that employees prefer to work with one gender over another. One job traditionally hiring men or women is not a sound legal argument for excluding either gender.

Privacy considerations can be found justifiable when nudity, such as showering, must be taken into consideration. Other reasonable justifications for considering gender include jobs that require body searches, situations that would be considered offensive to prevailing social standards, and tasks that may require individuals to view persons of the opposite sex in compromising situations.


Q: What Are the LGBT Rights in the Workplace in California?

A: LGBT rights are the same as non-LGBT rights, meaning no employer or supervisor can legally infringe on an LGBT worker’s rights to enjoy equal access to pay, training, and promotions, among other privileges. LGBT workers share additional work-related rights such as PTO, overtime, and minimum wage on par with heterosexual co-workers.

Q: What Is the Equality Act in California?

A: The Equal Pay Act mandates equal pay for workers performing “substantially similar work.” This is determined as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility. The act also made it harder for employers to use the “bona fide factor other than work” argument. Rights under the act continue to be expanded. Race and ethnicity were added in 2017.

Q: Do Minors Have Rights Against LGBTQ Discrimination in California?

A: Yes. Whether in the workplace or at school, anti-discrimination protections extend to children and teenagers. The California Education Code, for example, prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, and other protected characteristics. The education code applies to non-religious private schools and public schools.

California schools must respect a student’s sexual orientation to be in compliance with this code. Both the U.S. Constitution and Title IX provide similar protections that prohibit school leaders from discriminating against minors based on gender expression and sexual orientation. Our firm can represent minors with parental consent.

Q: What Is the Gender Non-Discrimination Law in California?

A: There are multiple laws that protect workers from gender-based discrimination. The Fair Employment and Housing Act protects workers from workplace discrimination based on gender and gender identity. The California Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay workers equally for similar jobs. A San Diego LGBT discrimination lawyer can work to protect your rights if you were not treated equally based on your gender or gender identity.

Q: Can You Sue for Discrimination in California?

A: Yes. Litigation is a common and effective remedy for violations of any state or federal law protecting LGBT workers. If you believe you have grounds to file a complaint or a claim, an LGBT discrimination lawyer can handle the filings for you and negotiate a settlement. If the case cannot be settled, discrimination claims can go to court, where a judge or jury decides the merits of the case. Monetary damages may be awarded to the victim of discrimination.

Contact A San Diego LGBTQ Discrimination Lawyer Today

An employee should talk to a lawyer as soon as the employee suspects that discrimination is taking place. There are time limits for bringing disability discrimination claims if the problem cannot be resolved directly with the employer. Contact our San Diego Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.

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