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  • Corey Hall

Discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Discrimination against your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which is illegal under California labor laws, continues to be a problem in the workplace. Employees need to understand their rights when it comes to sexual orientation discrimination.



What is discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression?


The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination based on both an individual's actual sexual orientation and what an employer perceives their sexual orientation to be. This includes discrimination against bisexual, gay, and lesbian individuals. It also covers discrimination based on the perception that an individual has certain characteristics associated with a particular sexual orientation, or if they possess those characteristics. Any adverse employment decision made based on sexual orientation is illegal.


What are adverse employment actions based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression?


Examples of adverse employment actions due to sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace include being denied employment, promotions, raises, or benefits, or receiving a bad evaluation because of one's sexual orientation. It also includes being denied access to job resources, job training, or educational programs based on sexual orientation, or being subjected to harassment or retaliation for complaining about or participating in an investigation of sexual orientation discrimination.


What kinds of protections do employees have when complaining about sexual orientation discrimination?


FEHA also protects employees from retaliation if they complain in good faith about sexual orientation discrimination to management, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, or by filing a lawsuit in court. It also protects employees who participate in investigations, litigation, or proceedings related to sexual orientation discrimination claims.

In addition to protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, FEHA also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. This includes discrimination against individuals who do not conform to traditional gender roles or expressions. FEHA applies to employers with five or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and licensing boards.


Are gender identity and expression protected?


Yes, gender identity and expression are protected. It is illegal to be discriminated against for expressing your gender identity. Transgender employees have rights in the workplace.


Gender expression refers to how a person presents their gender through their appearance or behavior, or how others perceive this presentation. It includes any gender-related traits that may not necessarily conform to traditional gender roles or expectations based on the sex assigned to the person at birth. Gender expressions can vary widely and can be fluid, changing over time or depending on the context.


"Gender identity" refers to an individual's sense of their gender, or how others perceive their gender identity. This can include identifying as male, female, a combination of both, neither, nor a gender different from the sex assigned to them at birth. It can also include identifying as transgender, which means that an individual's gender identity does not align with the sex assigned to them at birth. Gender identity is a personal and deeply held aspect of an individual's identity and is not necessarily tied to their appearance or behavior.


What do I do if I believe I have been discriminated against based on my sexual orientation?


If you believe you have experienced sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in the workplace, it is important to speak with an experienced discrimination attorney. They can help you understand your rights and options and guide you through seeking justice. It is important to stand up against discrimination to create a more equal and fair society for all.


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(949) 997-0828


Sources:

Cal. Code Regs. Tit. 2, § 11030 FEHA

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