Sexual orientation discrimination includes being treated differently or harassed because of your real or perceived sexual orientation; whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LIGHT) [Nylon, on-line]. This type of harassment of differential treatment goes beyond being yelled at for being late. Although, being yelled at is not something most people enjoy and it may violate some unrelated company policy, it does not fall into the category of discrimination or harassment.
Things like being overlooked for a promotion, being given baseless write-ups or improvement plans, and wrongful orientation, because the employer or manager disagrees with your sexual orientation are more along the lines of differential treatment. Harassment may include certain comments and name calling regarding your sexual orientation, or even repetitive requests for dates [Repay, 2010]. There are federal laws that protect against workplace discrimination based on sex, race, national origin, age, religion, pregnancy status, and disability.
Unfortunately, there is currently no federal statute prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in the work place. If you happen to work for the deader government, you are protected from sexual orientation discrimination. Several proposals to enact a law protecting employees from sexual orientation discrimination have been considered, but there has been no success in them being passed [Repay, 2010]. Qualified, hardworking Americans are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LIGHT).
As a result, LIGHT people face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion, and experiencing harassment on the job [Slowness, 2009]. There is currently a law that is being considered that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This law is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009. This law has been introduced to congress once before, but there was no success. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (END) has been introduced in Congress to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The bill would prohibit employers from making decisions about hiring, firing, promoting or compensating an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The END also prohibits preferential treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees as well as using quotas requiring an employer to hire a certain number of such employees. In addition, it exempts small businesses, religious organizations, and the military, and does not require that domestic partner benefits be provided to the same-sex partners of employees.
This act has yet to be passed. Therefore there is still no federal protection against sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace [Sol monies, 2009]. Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964 was the first federal law designed to rotate most United States employees of applicant’s race, religion, sex, or national origin. This Title was established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the Agency of the Department of Justice charged with enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1 964 and other nondiscrimination laws.
When applying for a job or working for an employer is might be noticed that the employer is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EYE) employer. EYE is the condition in which all individuals have an equal chance for employment, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, GE, disability, or national origin. The federal government’s efforts to create equal employment opportunities include constitutional amendments, legislation, and executive orders, as well as court decisions that interpret the laws [Non, Hollowness, Gerhard, & Wright, 201 1].
Based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1 964, the EEOC issued guidelines for defining and enforcing Title Avis’s requirements titled Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex. This regulation initially introduced the concept of conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or reading an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment [Burton Ill, 2011]. Not all employers are covered by the laws the EEOC enforces, and not all employees are protected.
This can vary on the type of employer, the number of employees the employer has, and the type of discrimination alleged [Non, Hollowness, Gerhard, & Wright, 20111. Substantive due process and equal protection arguments under the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States are the two methods of analyzing a discrimination claim. In general, both methods employ the same standards of review, but are applicable in different tuitions. The substantive due process analysis is utilized when a fundamental right (life, liberty, and property) is threatened by governmental action that is applicable to everyone.
The importance of the right or interest determines the level of scrutiny. The equal protection analysis is applicable when the government enacts legislation that establishes a benefit or burden for a class as a “suspect class”, “quasi;suspect class”, or “non-suspect class” determines the level of scrutiny. The United States Supreme Court has not granted or recognized homosexuals as having special status for the purpose f constitutional challenges. The Court has not declared sexual orientation as a fundamental or quasi-fundamental right under the due process clause of the Constitution.
It also has not declared sexual orientation as a “suspect” or “quasi-suspect” class under the equal protection clause. Therefore, sexual orientation is treated as a non-fundamental right, or a non-suspect class, and is subject to low-level scrutiny [Areola, 1992]. Since there are not any current federal laws prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, there is more hope at the state level. Almost half of the United States, including the District Of Columbia, has active laws that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in both private and public workplaces.
The states that have these laws include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin [Repay, 2010]. In 1982, Wisconsin was the first state to pass a law providing protections for homosexuals [Greenberg, 1993]. In addition, there are a few states that hold laws that only prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in public work places only [Anal, on-line].
There is no law in the state of Alabama that prohibits sexual orientation discrimination. State employees are protected in Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, and Pennsylvania. Public employees are protected in Louisiana and Montana (Repay, 2010]. If a person resides in a state that gives them no protection regarding sexual orientation discrimination, there might be local laws that cover it. Some local governments have established rules against sexual orientation workplace discrimination in the form of city ordinances [Repay, 2010].
Many cities and counties prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in at least some workplaces. Perhaps there is absolutely no law that prohibits sexual orientation where you work, there may still be hope.