Comments Regarding Sexuality in the Workplace
We all hope to enjoy a collegial and enjoyable atmosphere at work, but sometimes our employers and colleagues cross the line and make inappropriate jokes, remarks, or statements regarding sexuality. Although many Americans have an open and accepting opinion regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sexual orientations, many others have extremely biased views. At Phillips & Associates, our team of sexual orientation discrimination attorneys has advised employees in New York City on asserting their rights against their employers after experiencing inappropriate comments in the workplace.Identifying Inappropriate Comments Regarding Sexuality in the Workplace
Although existing federal laws do not expressly prohibit an employer from fostering a hostile workplace environment regarding sexual orientation, New York state laws provides a number of protections. For example, New York has passed the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on an employee’s actual or perceived sexual orientation.
In general, sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace happens when an employee is forced to experience jokes, comments, derogatory statements, or other gestures geared toward his or her sexual orientation. Although some of these instances include overt statements and gestures that have a clearly hostile intent towards various sexual orientations, other comments can be less obvious. Even a seemingly minor joke or comment can constitute sexual orientation harassment.
Many employers make discriminatory comments regarding an employee’s sexual orientation when making employment decisions. For example, it would be discriminatory for an employer to say that a particular employee is too effeminate or too masculine for a particular job, or to ask an employee to refrain from bringing his or her same-sex partner to an office event. The laws regarding sexual orientation discrimination extend beyond the office walls and include holiday parties, work gatherings, and company trips.
In some instances, an employer’s discriminatory statements and harassing remarks may create a hostile work environment. When an employer’s discrimination and harassment affect a condition, term, or privilege of employment, and the employer knew or should have known that the conduct was harassing, the employer has created a hostile work environment. This also holds true if other coworkers’ or customers’ comments create a hostile work environment and the employer fails to take steps to address the situation.Enlist a New York City Attorney to Protect Your Rights as an Employee
The last thing that any employee should face is a workplace full of hostile and inappropriate comments regarding his or her sexual orientation. Although many employers have adopted workplace policies that protect employees from facing this type of harassment and discrimination, others maintain hostile and prejudicial workplace environments. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced gender discrimination lawyers can represent individuals across New York City, including in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. We can fight to protect your privacy and assert your rights along every step of the way. We offer a free confidential consultation to help you learn about your rights and the legal remedies available to you. Call us now at 212-(212) 248-7431 or contact us online to set up an appointment.