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Sexual orientation discrimination: still a problem in California

In America, LGBT people are enjoying more freedom and acceptance than they perhaps ever have before. Besides same-sex marriage becoming legal in more and more states, gay, lesbian and transgender people are increasingly able to be open and free about who they are and be treated with the same respect as everybody else.

However, prejudice still exists, including in employment matters. Despite all the advances society has made in just the past few years, many LGBT people still experience discrimination when they apply for work, or get unfairly denied promotions, raises and other opportunities on the job.

Victims of sexual orientation discrimination at work have legal tools at their disposal they can use to fight back against this unjust practice. At the federal level, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that discrimination against an individual for being transgender is a form of discrimination based on sex. Therefore, it is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC has held that the Act covers some discrimination claims by gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals as well.

California law is arguably even more comprehensive. The Fair Employment and Housing Act states that it is a civil right to seek, obtain and hold a job without discrimination based on your gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Employers are expressly forbidden from refusing to hire someone, hold back an employee’s career advancement, or otherwise discriminate against an individual for these reasons.

But it will be very difficult to fight back on your own. Few victims of gender or sexual orientation discrimination can succeed without the help of an experienced employment discrimination attorney.