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EEOC allows workplace discrimination lawsuits for LGBTQ people

There is greater attention being paid to various forms of harassment that employees are confronted with in Detroit and across the country. Increasingly, people who have their employee rights violated due to their sexual orientation are becoming aware of their ability to file a case to be compensated. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has begun filing lawsuits because people in the LGBTQ community are facing harassment and discrimination.

Two cases were recently filed alleging workers' rights were violated. One was filed by the Philadelphia District Office of the EEOC as a medical center is alleged to have harassed a gay man due to his sexual orientation. The man stated that his manager used slurs and made other offensive statements regarding his personal life. The EEOC says that when the man approached the director of the facility to complain, he was told the manager was simply doing his job. No action was taken to make the behavior stop. The employee subsequently quit.

A second case, filed in Baltimore, alleged that a lesbian woman who was working at a pallet company was harassed by her supervisor because of her sexual preference. Comments about her appearance and her sexual orientation were made. The complainant said that her supervisor told her that she would look good in a dress and that he wanted to turn her back into a woman. He also made gestures that she felt were sexually suggestive. She complained to the employer about what was happening via hotline. Days later, she was fired as a method of retaliation.

The EEOC contends that both of these cases are violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This prohibits workers being discriminated against due to sex. Courts have been hesitant to provide recognition that LBGTQ employees could be included under the law. But in a 2015 decision, the EEOC decided that LBGTQ workers could be included.

Workers who are subjected to a violation of their employee rights via harassment and other forms of workplace discrimination have to keep current on how the law is viewing these issues. Because the EEOC is allowing lawsuits related to LBGTQ discrimination, those who have been harmed by it should speak to a lawyer about the possibility of filing a case.

Source: Rewire.news, "Federal Government Takes Hard Line in LGBTQ Employment Discrimination," Jessica Mason Pieklo, March 7, 2016

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