Sexual Orientation

Most California employers may not discriminate against and harass employees based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, or retaliate against employees who complain about sexual orientation harassment or discrimination. These employers may not treat employees differently in making employment decisions such as hiring, termination, promotion, demotion, training, or compensation because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight. The law similarly prohibits discrimination and harassment based on a perception of an employee’s sexual orientation, even if that perception is mistaken. Thus, for example, a straight person who is fired because her boss believes she is gay has suffered sexual orientation discrimination even though she is not gay. The harasser may be an employer, supervisor, co-worker, or customer, of the same or opposite sex.

Sexual orientation discrimination often co-exists with other forms of discrimination and harassment. For example, an employee subjected to humiliation and ridicule because he is gay may also be harassed based on sex because he fails to conform to traditional gender stereotypes of “masculinity.” Similarly, gay and lesbian employees may experience discrimination or harassment based on their marital status or actual or perceived HIV status in addition to their sexual orientation.

If you believe you may have been discriminated against, harassed, or terminated by your employer because of your actual or perceived sexual orientation, or your employer is retaliating against you for complaining about sexual orientation harassment or discrimination, you need employment law specialists on your side. Sarnoff + Sarnoff is committed to advancing employee rights and bringing to justice any employer that engages in, encourages, or fails to prevent discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace. Give us a call at (415) 788-0888, email us at info@sarnofflaw.com, or complete our online contact form to find out whether your rights have been violated and if we can help.

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