Recognizing and understanding the complexities of employment law concerning sexual orientation and gender identity is an essential step in protecting employee rights. Our experienced team of attorneys commits to advocating for the rights of individuals who identify as LGBTIQA+ and ensuring their workplaces are inclusive, equal, and free from discrimination.

With a comprehensive grasp of federal and New Jersey state laws, we continuously strive to guard against discriminatory practices based on sexual orientation or gender identity. New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) explicitly protects individuals from being treated differently in employment due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This law encompasses a broad range of employment-related areas, including hiring, firing, promotions, and working conditions, to name a few.

On the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is central to preventing employment discrimination. Although it does not explicitly mention sexual orientation or gender identity, interpretations of Title VII have historically included these categories under its prohibition of sex discrimination.

In employment law, a primary area of concern for LGBTIQA+ individuals is workplace harassment. Harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity can take many forms, including offensive remarks, derogatory comments, or creating a hostile work environment. It’s critical to understand that these behaviors are not just inappropriate but illegal. Our attorneys are prepared to fight for the rights of anyone who has experienced such mistreatment.

Another critical issue is employer policies and practices that may inadvertently discriminate against LGBTIQA+ individuals. These can include dress codes, bathroom use policies, or name and pronoun use that do not respect an individual’s gender identity. Such policies can contribute to a discriminatory work environment, and our attorneys are well-versed in addressing these more subtle forms of discrimination.

Transgender employees, in particular, can face specific challenges in the workplace. Under New Jersey LAD and federal interpretations of sex discrimination laws, employers must provide equal benefits and respect all employees’ gender identities. Issues can arise with health insurance plans that exclude coverage for gender-affirming treatments or employers refusing to respect a transgender employee’s affirmed gender.

For individuals going through a transition process, protections are also in place. Employees should not be treated differently because they are perceived to be transitioning, have transitioned, or are believed to be considering transitioning.

However, it’s important to note that not all employment practices that may seem discriminatory are unlawful. For example, an employer may have a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. A BFOQ allows an employer to make employment decisions based on an individual’s sex, age, or religion if necessary for the business’s normal operations. However, this exception is very narrow and can’t be used as a cover for discrimination.

Furthermore, the intersectionality of discrimination can pose additional challenges for LGBTIQA+ employees. People who identify as LGBTIQA+ and belong to other protected classes (such as race, religion, or disability) can experience compound forms of discrimination. Multiple protections under state and federal law may be invoked in such cases.

Every employee deserves a workplace where they are respected, safe, and valued for their contributions, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We dedicate ourselves to upholding these standards, using our extensive knowledge of New Jersey and federal laws to defend employees’ rights.

Remember, if you believe you have been subjected to workplace discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, you don’t have to face it alone. Our team is ready to provide you with the legal support and guidance you need. Acting swiftly in these cases is crucial, as there are time limitations for filing a complaint. We encourage you to reach out to us and ensure your rights as an employee are fully protected.

Contact a Seasoned and Qualified Sexual Orientation Discrimination Attorney 

If you believe you or someone close to you is being discriminated against at work because of sexual orientation or gender identity, you should be aware that the laws in New York exist to protect you from this unlawful discrimination. The experienced LGBTIQA+ attorneys of Risman & Risman, P.C. are eager to discuss your concerns about possible sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. Please feel free to call us at (212) 233-6400 or contact us online. There is no charge for the consultation.

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