Sexual Orientation and LGBT Discrimination
Workers are entitled under federal and Massachusetts law to a workplace free from illegal discrimination. The law provides rights to workers against such discrimination in all aspects of their work, including hiring, promotion, the exercise of certain rights, the right to work in a discrimination-free environment, and the right not to be fired for illegal discriminatory practices.
We treat these protections seriously. As attorneys specializing in unlawful discrimination, we represent workers who have been subjected to illegal workplace discrimination and seek justice and an end to such wrongful conduct.
We are available to represent workers with a range of options, which can include “cease and desist” letters demanding an immediate stop to discriminatory practices, as well as initiating lawsuits against employers for compensation and damages based upon illegal conduct (including wrongful termination).
If you have been subjected to illegal treatment at work, we invite you to contact us to learn how we can help.
Can Employers Discriminate on the Basis of Sexual Orientation in Massachusetts?
It is illegal under Massachusetts law to discriminate against an employee based on his or her sexual orientation. Chapter 151B, the state’s fair employment practices act, includes sexual orientation under its definition of protected statuses. It is therefore illegal to make any adverse employment decisions, such as discipline, removal, involuntary transfer, or reduction in pay, based on sexual orientation. However, federal discrimination law does not yet cover sexual orientation.
Does Massachusetts Law Prohibit Discrimination Against Transgendered Employees?
While federal antidiscrimination statutes do not expressly cover transgendered persons, Chapter 151B of Massachusetts General Law was amended in 2012 to expressly cover gender identity in the workplace. As such, individuals identifying as transgendered or gender-nonconforming are fully protected in Massachusetts against discrimination in employment based on their gender identity.
How Can I Tell if I Have Been the Subject of Illegal Discrimination?
First, as it discussed in our website, it will be important to determine whether you are the member of a protected class against which discriminated is prohibited under state and/or federal law.
Next, it will be important to determine whether the discriminatory action (such as a termination or other different treatment) was primarily the result of, or due to, your membership in the protected class.
This second determination is often difficult, as employers will almost always have a non-discriminatory reason for a course of conduct. In a wrongful termination case, for example, an employer may claim that the firing was due to poor work quality, the inability of a worker to interact well with others, or for some other reason. In a discrimination case, it will be important to prove that the primary reason for the alleged improper conduct was the basis of the person in a protected class.
If you believe that you have been the subject of illegal treatment based upon you sexual orientation or gender identity, please call our firm.
We offer a free initial consultation so that we can learn about your case and so that we can determine if we are able to help.