Understanding the Rights of LGBTQ+ Employees in California

Over the past months, various states and municipalities in the United States of America have introduced laws that restrict the rights of those people in the LGBTQ+ community. According to a CNN article published on June 6, 2023, U.S. legislatures have introduced more than 415 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the first quarter of 2023. This number is so high that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LBGTQ+ civil rights organization, declared a national state of emergency for members of the LGBTQ+ community. According to the HRC, the increasing threats facing millions of people in the United States are real and dangerous. The HRC pointed out that the introduction of anti-LGBTQ+ bills often results in violence against the members of the LGBTQ+ community, forcing families to give up their lives and run away in search of safety. The HRC pointed out that the bills encourage homophobia and transphobia and put the safety of every LGBTQ+ member and supporter at risk.

However, even with the introduction of all these anti-LGBTQ+ bills, it is crucial for people to keep in mind that members of the LGBTQ+ community have certain rights and protections, including in the workplace. If you are a California employee or employer, you need to understand the rights that members of the LGBTQ+ community have in the workplace. You need to respect these rights and ensure you abide by the law. If your rights as an LGBTQ+ employee are violated, you have legal recourse. A qualified employment lawyer can help you understand your legal options.

Rights of LGBTQ+ Employees in California

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in the workplace. Discrimination is when an employer or another person treats an employee differently because of their protected class. Among the many protected classes recognized under the law are a person’s gender expression, sexual orientation, and gender identity. So this means it is against the law to treat an employee differently in the workplace because they are a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

One form of discrimination that is prohibited under FEHA is harassment. Harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to an offensive, hostile, or intimidating work environment. It is against the law for an employer to harass an employee because they are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, LGBTQ+ employees are protected from harassment by colleagues, supervisors, customers, and even third parties.

It is the right of LGBTQ+ employees to expect their employers to take reasonable steps to curb and remedy wrongful behavior in the workplace. Steps to curve and correct wrongful behavior in the workplace include conducting mandatory discrimination or harassment-prevention training according to the law and introducing effective policies.

Finally, the Fair Employment and Housing Act makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an LGBTQ+ employee because they have asserted their right under the law. If you complain about unfair treatment in the workplace, your employer is prohibited from punishing you by, for example, firing you, demoting you, or denying you a promotion.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

If you are being discriminated against at work because you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, document what is happening and speak to a California employment lawyer near you.