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Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The Long Island sexual orientation discrimination lawyers at Famighetti & Weinick PLLC represent employees who have faced unlawful workplace discrimination.

Have you been fired because of your sexual orientation or because your employer was convinced that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender? New York’s LGBTQ employees should not have to remain fearful of disclosing their sexual identity because of the possibility of losing a job. New York State, New York City, Nassau County, and most recently – federal law in New York – all prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and even associational discrimination in the workplace.

Navigating the various sexual orientation laws applicable to New Yorkers, including Suffolk County and Nassau County employees can be tricky. While the legal landscape has begun to shift in favor of protecting LGBTQ employees, the intricacies of these unsettled changes can confuse even the brightest employees. At Famighetti & Weinick PLLC, our Long Island sexual orientation discrimination attorneys remain up-to-date on the most recent legal advancements in New York State in the area of sexual orientation discrimination.

Employees should not have to hear a boss refer to employees using derogatory terms such as “faggot,” “homo” or “queer” while at work. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the federal law that prohibits employment discrimination, does not explicitly ban sexual orientation discrimination. Fortunately for employees on Long Island, in a landmark 2018 decision issued by New York’s federal circuit Court of Appeals, workers in Long Island or anywhere else in New York State are protected from sexual orientation discrimination.

According to the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR), the state agency responsible for enforcing the employment discrimination law, New York was the first state to adopt regulations prohibiting employment discrimination in the workplace based on an employee’s gender identity, transgender status, or gender dysphoria.

Unlike other types of employment discrimination in New York, sexual orientation discrimination is broader. Although New York State and City law generally only apply to employers with four or more workers, a 2015 Amendment to the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) made sexual harassment illegal regardless of the employer’s size.

New York City’s sexual discrimination law provides workers with even broader protection than the state law. The chart below shows the different ways sexual orientation has been defined under federal, New York State, and New York City law.

NY Federal LawNY State LawNassau County LawNYC Law
No federal legislation exists but in 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Zarda v. Altitude Express, held that “sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination.”

However, the Second Circuit did not address whether Title VII protections should also extend to transgender employees stating that “discrimination against a transgender individual, [was] a distinct question not at issue here.”

“means heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.”“A person’s actual or perceived identity as being homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.”“An individual’s actual or perceived romantic, physical or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender. . . . A continuum of sexual orientation exists and includes, but is not limited to, heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality, asexuality, and pansexuality.”

Stand up for your workplace rights. Call Famighetti & Weinick’s Long Island sexual orientation discrimination lawyers today at (631) 352-0050.

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