Los Angeles LGBTQ Discrimination Attorney

In 2008, California passed Proposition 8 legalizing same-sex marriage. While strides have been made in LGBTQ rights, the workplace lags behind in fairness. California provides vast protection to the LGBTQ employees that face Sexual Orientation Discrimination through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

What is LGBTQ / Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace?

Sexual orientation is described as a person's sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted. Sexual Orientation Discrimination occurs when your employee treats you less favorably, or takes some other adverse employment action against you, due to your status as gay, lesbian, transsexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, or even heterosexual.

Unfortunately, while there is no federal protection for Sexual Orientation Discrimination, California is one of the leading progressive states that makes a concerted effort to prohibit Sexual Orientation Discrimination. Nonetheless, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has of late aggressively pursued actions based on Sexual Orientation Discrimination as courts have increasingly found that the term “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act encompasses “sexual orientation.”

Are Homophobic Comments, Jokes, or Slurs Sexual Orientation Discrimination?

Maybe. The courts have held that a single comment or an isolated incident of negative remarks do not rise to the level of Sexual Orientation Discrimination. However, if the conduct becomes so pervasive or severe to a reasonable person, then the employee may have a viable claim against their employer. It is important to consult a lawyer to see exactly how the facts of your case could be presented to prove that you were discriminated against.

Examples of Previous Sexual Orientation Lawsuits

  • Macy v. Dep’t of Justice: A transgender woman who worked as a police detective in Phoenix relocated to San Francisco and began seeking employment.  The detective was a man but was in the process of transitioning to a woman.  Her supervisor told her that another department had an opening for which she was qualified for. After she disclosed her intentions on changing her sex, she was told the position was no longer available. The EEOC held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act includes Sexual Orientation Discrimination as a form of Sex Discrimination. 
  • Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College: a female professor who was openly lesbian applied for a full-time position on numerous occasion but was denied every time. She then filed an EEOC claim, complaining that she was denied full-time status based on her status as a lesbian. While the lower court ruled against her, the appeals court found that: a man in her position, that is a man in a relationship with woman, would not have be treated similarly if applying to the position, and therefore “paradigmatic sex discrimination” was present; “a person who is discriminated against because of the protected characteristic of one with whom she associates is actually being disadvantaged because of her own traits”; and Ultimately, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s interpretation of “sex” discrimination encompasses sexual orientation discrimination. 
  • A lesbian worker who was employed for a pallet manufacturer was constantly harassed by her supervisor. For example, her supervisor made numerous comments to her regarding her sexual orientation and appearance, such as "I want to turn you back into a woman" and "You would look good in a dress," among other actions. After she complained to the higher ups, she was fired. The EEOC and the company came to a settlement of $202,500. However, another reason this case is so important is because it is one of the first settlements regarding Sexual Orientation Discrimination.
  • EEOC v. Pallet Companies, d/b/a IFCO: A gay employee who worked for a car dealership was subjected to a continuing course of unwelcome and offensive conduct which became so intolerable that the employee was forced to quit. The case later settled for $100,000.


Talk to a Los Angeles LGBTQ lawyer today. We offer free consultations and you pay nothing unless we win.

The lawyers at Miracle Mile Law Group are specially trained in handling LGBTQ discrimination lawsuits. If you believe you have been or currently are a victim of discrimination based on your sexual orientation, contact a Los Angeles LGBTQ discrimination lawyer today. Having a lawyer by your side when trying to prove that you have been discriminated against is essential. The lawyers here at Miracle Mile Law Group are trained at identifying what to look for when going up against your employer. These cases are very time sensitive so give us a call at (888) 244-0706 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation. Remember, we do not take a single dollar unless WE WIN!

Miracle Mile Law Group
3460 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1210
Los Angeles CA 90010
Tel: (888) 244-0706