In today’s society, you should have the freedom to embrace your sexual orientation. In recent years, the LGBT community gained significant support from the public and the government, and for decades California has been a leader in this support. Same-sex couples can marry, divorce and more easily adopt children than at any other point in the country’s history.
With all of these advances in thinking and legal protections, you would think you would have the same rights when it comes to protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. Those laws have been slower in coming, but once again, the state of California leads the way for protecting you.
You have legal rights
Regardless of whether you are transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual or a cross-dresser, you retain the right to work in an environment free from hostility. You should feel free to enjoy your workplace as much as others do. To that end, California protects people of specific sexual orientations. Therefore, your employer, supervisors and managers must avoid the following behaviors and actions in the workplace:
- Determining your rate of pay based on sexual orientation
- Writing you up due to sexual orientation
- Harassing you due to sexual orientation
- Creating a hostile work environment
- Hiring or firing you based on sexual orientation
- Demoting or laying you off based on sexual orientation
If someone harasses you, assaults you or retaliates against you based on your sexual orientation, you have the right to lodge a complaint with your employer. Your company’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and procedures should apply to you just as they do to anyone else. However, that does not mean that your employer will follow those polices and procedures.
You may enforce your legal rights
If your complaints regarding sexual harassment remain unresolved, you may have to go outside of your company for help. Your employer may not have the final say when it comes to the resolution of your problem. Your employer may not punish you for the behavior or simply ignore your concerns.
You may find it beneficial to take your concerns to an employment law attorney who not only understands state law in connection with these matters but federal law as well. You may benefit from an advocate who will aggressively fight for your rights and will help you pursue the compensation you deserve.