New York Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer
You should never have to feel intimidated, harassed, or frightened at work. You deserve the equal chance to earn a meaningful living – you deserve to be respected and treated well. Despite the unbelievable strides our society has made towards gay and lesbian acceptance and equality, widespread discrimination still exists. One facet highly affected by employment sexual orientation discrimination is the New York City workplace.
If you believe that you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace based on your sexual orientation, you can file a lawsuit in New York City. However, you must prove that your employer discriminated against you because of a real or perceived sexual orientation issue. Before you consider such action, discuss your sexual orientation discrimination case with an experienced New York City sexual orientation discrimination attorney at the Derek T. Smith Law Group. We are a group of unbiased employment discrimination attorneys who fight to get every penny our clients deserve in their New York City sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit.
GLAAD reports rampant employment discrimination for LGBT community
According to surveys reported by the non-profit GLAAD, more than 40% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and almost 90% of transgender people have experienced employment discrimination, harassment or mistreatment within their lifetime. While the landscape for LGBT workers is evolving more and more towards equality, employers still have a long way to go.
Organizations such as GLAAD and other non-profits help educate employees on their rights and provide support for LGBT workers. You are not alone. While certain outreach programs help empower you, a New York gay and lesbian discrimination attorney gives you the ability to fight for your legal rights.
For example, the harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group represented lesbian chef Mirella Salemi in a landmark sexual orientation discrimination case against her former employer, Gloria’s Tribeca Inc. A jury awarded Salemi $1.6 million after she endured years of sexual harassment and abuse from her ex-supervisor.
New York Laws: Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act
Currently, no federal laws protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers from employment discrimination or harassment. Thankfully, New York offers progressive protections for employees who have suffered discrimination.
The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, typically known by its acronym “SONDA,” prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation in employment. SONDA added the term “sexual orientation” to the list of specifically protected characteristics in various State laws, including the Human Rights Law, the Civil Rights Law, and the Education Law back in 2002.
How does New York law define “sexual orientation”?
SONDA defines sexual orientation as “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.” Thus, the law affords protection where individuals are targeted either based on their actual sexual orientation, or based on what the discriminator believes their orientation to be.
For example, you may have been called “gay,” “homo,” or “faggot” by your co-workers – yet you identify as heterosexual. You may still have a claim for sexual orientation discrimination under New York’s SONDA law.
Does discrimination cover harassment?
Yes, if you were harassed at work due to your actual or perceived sexual orientation, you may have a legal claim for discrimination. Overall, SONDA covers employment discrimination in every area of your job.
For example, an employer may have refused to hire you because you are gay. In another scenario, your co-workers might have taunted you for identifying as a transgender person. Either case may be considered LGBT discrimination.
Proving sexual orientation discrimination in NYC can be challenging
Our sexual orientation discrimination lawyers at Derek Smith Law Group understand the law backwards and forwards. We know the burden of proof is on you to show a direct correlation between your sexual orientation and the adverse actions taken by your employer. However, employers do not acknowledge discriminatory activities. Most cases of discrimination are based on circumstantial evidence – yet using our knowledge and experience, our attorneys can build a solid case in your favor.
Relying on circumstantial proof of intentional discrimination requires you and your attorney to file three steps:
- First, you must present sufficient evidence to show a cause and effect relationship between the challenged action (e.g., failure to promote, hire, etc.) and your sexual orientation. This is what is referred to as your prima facie case.
- Second, your employer must respond by simply offering a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the action. This is called satisfying the burden of production.
- Third, you must present evidence proving, despite the excuses offered by your employer, that the adverse action was motivated by his or her intention to discriminate. This is called the burden of persuasion and may be achieved, for example, by proving that the reason offered by the defendant is merely a pretext for actual discrimination.
So in cases alleging intentional discriminatory actions, you carry the ultimate burden of persuading a court that the actions of your employer were motivated by a discriminatory intent regarding your sexual orientation. Having an experienced NYC sexual orientation discrimination attorney to guide your case and help you gather evidence, witnesses and expert testimony can make the difference in having a successful resolution to your complaint.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation may seem very clear to victims, but strong proof must be provided to prevail in a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit. Lacking such proof makes for a very weak case. However, an NY sexual orientation discrimination lawyer helps clients better understand the difference between lawful and discriminatory behavior.
New York City LGBT employment discrimination lawyers are on your side
Do not be the victim of sexual orientation discrimination. Our experienced sexual orientation discrimination attorneys in New York are ready to fight for and protect your rights. Our goal is to get the best possible results for you. If you have questions about sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace or would like to speak with us regarding your case, contact the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC today by calling our toll-free number 877-469-5297.