Are There Protections for LGBTQ+ Employees in California?

Click for a consultation

Whether you are applying for a job or facing discrimination while already working for an employer, you may be unsure if you have the right to take legal action. Are there protections for LGBTQ+ employees in California? What should you do if you feel your rights have been violated?

In every situation, your first step is to reach out to our San Francisco gender discrimination attorney at The Armstrong Law Firm. Let us provide clear guidance on the rights in your specific case.

What Protections Exist for LGBTQ+ Employees in California?

An employer cannot discriminate against a person for being LGBTQ+ in any way. This falls under the federal Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Under both of these laws, your employer cannot make any employment-related decisions based on being LGBTQ+. That means they cannot:

  • Fail to promote you
  • Not hire you
  • Terminate you unfairly
  • Harass you
  • Demote you

Any type of harassment related to this status could be a violation of either of these laws, and that could mean that you have the right to take action.

To be clear, an employer cannot discriminate against you in any way (paying you unfairly, hiring you, denying your benefits, or otherwise) on any grounds of gender identification, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Also notable is that California law also recognizes gender non-conforming and non-binary identities as well as all other gender identities.

There Are Some Exceptions to This Rule

There are some scenarios when limitations exist in these areas. For example, there are some religious entities, such as mosques and churches, where employees may be exempt from these laws. Also notable are very small companies that have under five employees, as the laws do not apply to those organizations directly.

Common Questions Related to LGBTQ+ Rights in California

Can an Employer Provide a Health Insurance Policy That Does Not Allow for Gender-Affirming Care?

In California, the law reads that all employers who provide a health care plan must cover gender-affirming care. This law requires that these types of care needs must be treated in the same way as other medically necessary care provided by the plan.

Can an Employer Ask About Sexual Orientation During a Job Interview?

No, in the state of California, a job applicant’s sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity cannot be considered, and therefore, employers may not ask directly or indirectly about it.

Do I Have the Right to Use a Restroom at Work That Corresponds to My Gender Identity?

Under California law, you have the right to access safe and appropriate facilities, and the employer cannot provide specifications on which restroom you can use.

What Should You Do If You Feel You Were Discriminated Against?

It can be very difficult for employees to prove that discrimination occurred. However, if you are feeling harassed in any way, we encourage you to reach out to our employment attorney to discuss your case. At The Armstrong Law Firm, we are committed to helping you through this legal matter. Contact us for a consultation now.