What To Do If You Were Turned Down For A Job Because Of Your Sexual Orientation

If you were qualified for a job and met all the requirements, but you believe that you were turned down for the position because of your sexual orientation, you may be able to pursue a claim against the employer. One example of a similar situation is that experienced by Jodi O’Brien. A sociology professor at Seattle University, O’Brien is a lesbian and writes about sexuality.

O’Brien was offered the job as a dean at a college of Marquette University. The university then rescinded the offer in May 2010 because the school, which is Jesuit and Roman Catholic run, said that O’Brien “lacked the ability to represent the Marquette mission and identity.” The president of the university argued that the decision wasn’t because of the sexuality of O’Brien, but because of her academic writing and its negative statements about family and marriage.

If you have experienced a similar situation, you will need to prove that the only reason you were denied employment was because of your sexual orientation. Most likely, the employer will claim that you weren’t hired because of some other reason, so you will need to provide evidence to show that you were experienced, qualified, and trained for the role, and that you could perform the duties and responsibilities just as well as the person who was hired for the position.

Can You Be Denied A Job Based On Sexual Orientation?


Legally, no, you cannot be denied a job based on your sexual orientation. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation. This law applies to all employers, regardless of the number of their employees. Most workers, including agency workers, trainees, existing employees, and self-employed contractors have protection from being sexually discriminated against at work. This includes in all these aspects of employment:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Promotion
  • Training, pay, and benefits
  • Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Terms and conditions of work

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of color, sex, race, national origin, or religion. Usually, it is only applicable to employers who have 15 or more employees and it also applies to local, state, and federal governments. All qualified applicants must be treated the same, and employers cannot pick and choose or look over you simply because of your sexual orientation.

The EEOC makes it illegal for an employer to make an employment decision based on the applicant’s race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability or genetic information, or sex – which includes gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy. They must have a legitimate reason for not employing you, and they must be able to prove that it simply wasn’t because of your sexual orientation.

You will need to gather supporting evidence and documentation to prove that you were discriminated against. Keep copies of any documents and paperwork given to you, and, also, make note of the reason you were given for not being hired for the position. Usually, the company will have a history of not hiring people because of their sexual orientation, or they will only employ people of a specific orientation, such as employing only heterosexuals and it being publicly known. There is usually a pattern in which there were other victims who had the same experience and who were treated in the same manner.

How An Attorney Can Help

If you were turned down for a job because of your sexual orientation, you should enlist the help of an employment law attorney who handles sexual orientation discrimination cases. When you hire an employment law attorney, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket. Instead, the sexual orientation discrimination attorney will take the case on a contingency basis, which means that your lawyer will not be paid until you win your case and recover compensation for your damages.

There is a statute of limitations or a time limit for pursuing a claim against an employer who didn’t hire you simply because of your sexual orientation. To get your claim filed before time runs out, talk with an attorney in your area today. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page so the details of your case can be shared with an attorney who handles employment law cases in your area.


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