In a perfect world, all people would treat others with dignity, regardless of sexual orientation. Unfortunately, as you know, we have not yet reached that point. Despite the progress that society has made toward equal rights, countless LGBT people across the country still receive poor treatment by their co-workers and employers. While there are laws in California that are supposed to protect you from discrimination, the reality is far from the ideal.
Workplace harassment for your sexual orientation or gender identity can range from feeling unwelcome or uncomfortable around your co-workers to a hostile and unsafe working environment or even unfair discipline or termination. You might face harassment or discrimination in the following ways:
- Co-workers might think it is funny to make homophobic jokes or slurs in your presence. While you might be OK with the occasional joke, constant insulting jokes and teasing can contribute to a hostile environment.
- If you are transgender or undergoing gender reassignment, the people you work with may not be sensitive to how you prefer them to address you, or they may harass you or become aggressive after the change.
- Others in the workplace may ask you intrusive and inappropriate questions about your orientation or relationship status if you are private about your personal life.
- Your employers’ and co-workers’ attitudes about you might change after finding out your LGBT status, and your employer could deny you denied benefits, pass you over for a promotion or fire you solely because of your identity.
- Despite being the best qualified for a job, a manager might not hire you because of your sexual orientation.
- A co-worker might threaten your safety or physically harm you.
You deserve to be treated like a human being with the same feelings and rights as anyone else, no matter what your sexual orientation or identity is. No one should ever use a person’s orientation as a reason to discriminate, harass or harm.