Workplace discrimination based on the protected status of workers is illegal in California under state and federal law. There have been questions about whether the prohibition against sex-based discrimination covers discrimination against workers based on their sexual orientation.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the Obama administration took the position that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. The Trump administration has taken the opposite view and has argued that the law does not prohibit discrimination against workers based on their sexual orientation. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case that would have answered the question.
There is a split in the federal courts about whether sexual orientation discrimination is a form of prohibited sex-based discrimination. The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case means that the lower court’s ruling will stand. The case involved a worker in Georgia who sued because she was discriminated against based on her sexual orientation. The lower courts held that she couldn’t sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Workplace discrimination is illegal under state and federal law when it is based on a worker’s protected status. Under federal law, employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of their sex, color, race, national origin, disability, religion or pregnancy status. People who believe that they have been the victims of prohibited workplace discrimination may want to consult with experienced employment lawyers. The attorneys may review what happened and analyze the facts under both the state and federal laws. The state’s laws may cover more categories of workers than the federal laws, which might mean that a worker may have a cognizable case in California even if he or she doesn’t under federal law. The lawyers may help to file discrimination charges if they accept the cases.