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Fired for Being Gay -- Can You Sue?

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on February 18, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

No matter how hard you worked, it seemed you were under-appreciated and you were always passed up for a promotions. And now you've been fired!

You had your suspicions for some time, and now you find others with similar productivity and metrics are still working. So you suspect that there is more to this story than just your work. It seems like you were snubbed for your sexual orientation. Is this discrimination? What can you do? Can you sue?

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal according to federal law, and some states have statutes addressing this issue too. If you feel you were fired or are being discriminated against at work based on your sexual orientation, you can seek relief.

But it is important to note that state laws vary widely, and even those places with LGBT workplace protections sometimes make exceptions for religious institutions, essentially allowing limited discrimination. In the vast majority of workplaces, however, you cannot legally be discriminated against based on who you are if that is a protected class.

LGBT workers are a protected class, able to file complaints via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You can also file a lawsuit for employment discrimination independently.

Discrimination Defined

Discrimination is more than just the occasional sideways glance from an unhappy manager or just not getting the raise you wanted. It is a systematic pattern of disparate treatment based on, in this case, sexual orientation. Proving this kind of case can be difficult if the discrimination in your workplace was subtly and carefully expressed and your termination supposedly unrelated.

But of course there are also blatant examples of discrimination, such as insults and outright or express exclusion because you are different. Either way, you should not hesitate to consult with an attorney if you think you were fired for being gay or are experiencing discrimination today.

Consult With an Attorney

Talk to a lawyer and get guidance on what you can do, based on what happened or is happening to you. Many lawyers consult for free or a low fee and will be happy to assess your claim and let you know if it seems you have a case.

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