Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace because of the sexual orientation or gender identity you identify as is prohibited by both state and federal legislation. You can file a discrimination claim against your employer as long as you have proof that you suffered discrimination and not because of your ability or willingness to do your job.

Examples of gender identity or sexual orientation (SOGI) discrimination at work include such things as:

  • firing you because you are gay or lesbian;
  • not paying you at least the minimum wage because you identify as transgender or intersex;
  • not hiring you simply because you are gay or lesbian;
  • not giving you the opportunity for overtime like cis- or heterosexual co-workers;
  • suffering taunts or other forms of harassment because of your gender identity or sexual orientation.

Any of these or other types of discrimination are prohibited by a federal anti-discrimination law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964. Penalties can be imposed on your employer if it fails to prevent discrimination in the workplace or you can seek compensation by filing a lawsuit.

You must have evidence that your employer has violated a state or federal anti-discrimination law and this was solely due to your identification as a particular gender or because of your sexual orientation. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) will investigate complaints of SOGI discrimination. The EEOC deals with larger workplaces (15 or more employees), while your state will have an equivalent agency, usually used for complaints of discrimination in smaller workplaces.

You may be give permission to pursue a lawsuit if the EEOC cannot resolve your complaint.