Nassau County Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Nassau County has a total area of 453 square miles and is famous for being one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. The most prominent industries there consist of health care and social assistance, educational services, and retail. Sexual orientation discrimination occurs in any type of industry when an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on a job applicant or employee's sexual orientation. If you are a victim of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, it can be very disturbing emotionally, in addition to having serious economic consequences. At Phillips & Associates, our Nassau County sexual orientation discrimination attorneys may be able to counsel and represent you in a lawsuit for damages.Bringing a Claim for Sexual Orientation Discrimination
New York's Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Act (SONDA) forbids employers with at least four employees from discriminating due to a job applicant or employee's sexual orientation. It defines sexual orientation as actual or perceived asexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or heterosexuality. You can be subject to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation even if the discriminating person misperceives your sexual orientation. For example, if you are terminated because your new supervisor believes that you are lesbian, you have a basis to sue even if you are bisexual. Similarly, if you are not promoted to a more prestigious customer-facing position because your supervisor thinks that you are gay when you are asexual, this would also be sexual orientation discrimination.
A transgender person is also protected under SONDA if the transgender person is subjected to discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. More recently, transgender individuals have been expressly protected under state regulations against discrimination and harassment on the basis of their gender identity. Our sexual orientation discrimination attorneys can help Nassau County residents of any orientation or identity fight for their rights.What is Sexual Orientation Discrimination?
Discrimination can take place in connection with any employment action, including termination, failure to promote, failure to hire, withholding of benefits, or adverse actions related to any other terms or conditions of employment. One type of discrimination is harassment, and if you were subject to harassment based on your sexual orientation, you may have a basis to bring a lawsuit under the New York State Human Rights Law.
There are some exemptions that can affect the application of SONDA. For example, an employer that is a religious or denominational institution is allowed to take adverse actions that are taken for the purpose of promoting the specific religious principles under which the institution was founded or kept. There is an argument to be made that if an employer is a church or another religious entity, it could discriminate against someone whom it believes to be of a particular sexual orientation that it believes violate its religious principles.Legal Recourse After Discrimination
People who believe that they have been victims of sexual orientation discrimination may file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights within a year of the most recent discriminatory act by their employer. Alternatively, they may file a complaint directly in state court within three years of the most recent discriminatory act. If you file a charge with the State Division, it will investigate and determine whether the charge is meritorious. It can hold a hearing before an administrative law judge, who may be able to provide a remedy. However, in some cases, it may be better to file in court and pursue monetary damages there. It is best to consult an experienced Nassau County sexual orientation discrimination attorney about which path would provide better remedies.
There is no explicit protection against sexual orientation discrimination under Title VII. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the law, has issued guidance explaining that sexual orientation discrimination is to be treated as a form of sex discrimination. In 2000, a federal jury awarded $1.55 million in damages to a former Nassau County corrections officer who claimed that his supervisors condoned the harassment of him by his coworkers because he is gay. However, different courts have issued various rulings on the question of whether Title VII includes sexual orientation discrimination within the category of sex discrimination, and it is important to consult an experienced attorney about which rules would apply in your case.Retain a Dedicated Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer in Nassau County
At Phillips & Associates, our attorneys are available to evaluate your situation to determine whether you have a basis to sue for sexual orientation discrimination and represent you if appropriate. Contact us online or call us at (516) 365-3731for a free appointment. We are proud to require no upfront fees and get paid only if we recover compensation on your behalf.
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