Workplace Discrimination Support
Steps LGBTQ+ Workers Can Take if they are Experiencing Discrimination in the workplace
Any LGBTQ+ workers that are being harassed or discriminated against by their employer or in their workplace need to know that they don’t have to continue being victimized at work. You may not know it but you are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Even though the actual language of Title VII says that employers can’t discriminate against employees based on race, sex, religion, or place of birth the Supreme Court has ruled that the protections in Title VII also apply to gender, identity, and orientation. That means it’s against Federal law for employers to harass or discriminate against you.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a Federal agency that enforces the Civil Rights Act and investigates companies that violate it. The EEOC operated in all 50 states. They also have a work share agreement with authorities in 44 states to share copies of any complaints submitted against companies in that state. So, if you live in one of those states and you submit a complaint to the EEOC they will send your complaint to the state labor board so that the state can also investigate your employer to see if any state laws were broken.
Examples Of Workplace Discrimination
There are many ways that LGBQ+ people are harassed and discriminated against at work like:
- Not Getting Raises Or Promotions
- If you were denied a scheduled raise or a promotion that could be discrimination.
- Offensive Comments And Harassment
- Slurs, offensive comments and questions, offensive imagery or anything that promotes stereotypes or any derogatory words or images are all harassment and discrimination.
- Getting Hours Cut
- If your hours were cut or your shift was changed after you came out as LGBTQ+ that’s discrimination.
- Misgendering you on purpose
- If your coworkers or bosses refuse to use your pronouns or your chosen name that’s discrimination.
Filing A Workplace Discrimination Claim
Anytime that you are a victim of harassment or discrimination you should write down the date and time, what happened, and who was involved. Keep an ongoing list of the experiences that are happening to you. Send a copy of that list and any proof or supporting documentation that you have to your boss and to HR along with a demand that they stop the harassment and discrimination that is occurring. If they don’t immediately start enforcing anti-harassment policies or trying in other ways to create a safe and non-toxic work environment then you should go to the EEOC’s website and file a complaint against your employer.
You can also file a complaint on the state level too. In Georgia, you can file a discrimination complaint with the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity. When you file a discrimination complaint on the state level in Georgia, It will be dual filed with the EEOC, that way you don’t have to file two complaints.
Penalties For Harassment And Discrimination
Civil Rights Act violations are taken very seriously by the EEOC and there are harsh penalties for companies that violate the Civil Rights Act. Your employer could have to pay fines of $10,000 or more. If you were denied a promotion or a raise you might be eligible for a lump sum payment for back wages. You also may be entitled to a lump sum of money for damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish.