Retaliation for Asserting Protected LGBTQ Rights
Many employers have created workplace environments that foster equality for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). Unfortunately, all too many employers harbor prejudicial and biased beliefs against LGBTQ individuals. In some instances, these beliefs lead employers to engage in harassment, discrimination, and even wrongful termination, particularly after the employee has asserted one of his or her many LGBTQ rights under New York state law. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City attorneys can help employees pursue compensation for retaliation based on asserting their rights against sexual orientation discrimination. We can advise you on your options after being wrongfully terminated or suffering another adverse employment action.Establishing the Liability of an Employer
The same laws that protect employees from discrimination and harassment also protect employees from facing retaliation from their employers after asserting one of these rights. Although there are no clear federal laws that protect individuals based on sexual orientation, New York has enacted a number of protections for these individuals, including measures that make it unlawful to discriminate or harass an employee based on his or her actual or perceived sexual orientation.
In general, retaliation happens when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in a legally protected activity. The punishment can include demotions, discipline, salary reduction, job reassignments, and firing. These are some of the most obvious examples of retaliation, and when paired with a statement or written communication from the employer indicating that he or she is taking that action based on the employee’s decision to exercise his or her rights, there is usually clear liability.
Recognizing retaliation can be difficult in some cases, such as when it is not always obvious that the employer’s action was negative or that the employer took that action based on the employee’s participation in a legally protected activity. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, in these instances a court must consider the totality of the circumstances in the situation. For example, changing an employee’s job shift assignment may not seem like retaliation on the surface. If that employee has young children who require supervision at night or on the weekends and the employer is aware of that, however, the action may constitute retaliation.
A court will also consider the effect that the employer’s retaliatory act had on other employees in the work environment. For example, if the action would deter a reasonable person from making a complaint or speaking with a supervisor about other incidents of harassment and discrimination, the action is most likely considered retaliatory.Discuss Your Retaliation Case with a New York City Attorney
If you suspect that you have suffered retaliation for asserting one of your protected LGBTQ rights, you should speak with a human resources representative or supervisor in your company immediately about the situation. If your employer cannot give you a legitimate reason for the action, it is important to speak with a sexual orientation discrimination lawyer. At Phillips & Associates, we can assist New York City residents with investigating potential retaliation claims and bringing lawsuits against their employers. We represent individuals throughout the five boroughs, including in Staten Island, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. We offer a free no-obligation consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us now at (833) 529-3476 or contact us online to set up an appointment.