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Addressing sexual orientation discrimination in court

by | Mar 7, 2016 | Firm News, sexual harassment |

LGBT Pennsylvanians who are struggling with prejudice in the workplace may be interested in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s recent actions. The federal agency is currently taking an adamant stance stating that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The central concept of the EEOC’s argument is that sexual orientation is a trait that is inseparably linked to a person’s physical and emotional attractions, so allegations of orientation discrimination automatically include considerations of sex and the accused party’s unfavorable treatment on that basis.

For LGBT individuals who feel that they are being mistreated at work, there may be behaviors that could be used as valid evidence of discrimination in a civil suit. Discrimination could manifest through insulting, moral condemnation and gender-based jokes. Employers could be orchestrating pranks on their LGBT employees to ensure they feel unwelcome, or they may simply reject them from social outings.

Much of the potential evidence for a sexual orientation discrimination suit could relate to job mobility and retaliation. Employers may show signs of systematically passing over employees who are not straight for promotions or other preferential arrangements, or they may subject LGBT workers to unequal discipline in comparison to straight co-workers.

Although the rights of LGBT individuals have greatly expanded in recent years throughout the country, a person filing a claim of workplace sexual harassment based on sexual orientation may still have to face significant obstacles in court. An attorney with experience in discrimination cases could help such a client by using assembled evidence such as records of abusive comments and preferential treatment of others.