When an employer takes a negative employment action against an employee, such as denial of benefits or harassment, based on their sexual orientation, it is known as sexual orientation discrimination. It is essential for employees to know about their rights against such practices and behavior of employers, and how it can be with other types of discrimination, like disability, sex, marital status, religion, and gender identity, in order to take legal action.
This form of discrimination can severely affect your workplace environment, employment benefits, job status, and give rise to an array of other issues. Many federal, state, and local laws and regulation protect employees from sexual orientation discrimination. If you think you are being treated differently or unfairly because of your sexual orientation, you should discuss your case with an experienced employment discrimination attorney who will help you understand your rights and provide the best solution for your situation.
Laws Protecting Employees Against Sexual Preference/Orientation Discrimination
Comprehensive statutory guidelines have been available in the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law, that prohibit employment discrimination pertaining to age, sex, national origin, religion, race, and color. However, it does not cover discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) supports that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, and should be treated in the same way.
While there are not any clear federal laws protecting employees from sexual orientation discrimination, employers are not free to engage in discriminatory practices. Over the past few years, many cases have been fought and ruled in favor of employees where they were discriminated for their sexual orientation. Several states have enforced laws that prohibit this kind of discrimination that every employer must be follow.
State and Local Laws
20 states, including Illinois, have state laws in place that protect employees from sexual orientation discrimination in both public and private workplaces. Aside from this, about 200 US counties and cities, some of which are in Illinois, have specific laws designed to prevent sexual discrimination at the workplace. They provide greater protection to employees and give them the right to make a claim against unfair practices of their employers.
What Damages are Available for Sexual Orientation Discrimination?
In Illinois, employers must follow the laws and regulations that bar them from engaging in any kind of discrimination, including those based on sexual orientation. Failing to do so grants employees the right to file a claim against their employer, who may be liable to pay for damages, such as:
- Back pay and benefits
- Fees and costs of attorney and court proceedings
- Emotional distress
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Punitive damages
Proving discrimination based on sexual orientation can be difficult, as complex local and state laws govern this category. It is best that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable employment discrimination attorney who will help you understand the law, and work with you get the justice and compensation that you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith today to discuss your case with a Roselle employment attorney and evaluate your legal options.