As noted in an earlier post, the Supreme Court of the United States will likely be asked to review whether or not Title VII (also known as the Civil Rights Act) provides protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation at the federal level. The fact that these protections are not always a given may cause some concern within the workplace. It is important to note that this single law is not the only form of protection available to workers. Additional protections, especially in California, are available.
Three examples include:
- State protection. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act specifically states that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on his or her sexual orientation. This includes termination or barring from training programs or other privileges connected to employment.
- Company policy. Companies may have policies that make such practices unlawful. These policies can be more strict, but not less, compared to state law.
- Future legislation or holdings. The current debate over Title VII could result in federal protections in two ways. First, SCOTUS could rule in favor of the protections. This ruling would be respected at the national level. Second, even if SCOTUS rules against the protections the ruling could lead to Congressional action. Congress has had a number of proposals that would offer these protections. A negative holding by SCOTUS could result in the backing these proposals need to pass.
These are just three broad examples of protections that make discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal in California. Those who are the victim of workplace discrimination should know that options are available. This type of discrimination is not just unethical but illegal. Hold the guilty party accountable. Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options.