NEW YORK, NEW YORK — June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which allows those to freely express their sexual identity and preference. Steven Mitchell Sack, “The Employee’s Lawyer,” says that employers may be subject to fines and penalties if they do not extend worker protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or other (LGBTQ+) employees.
According to The National LGBTQ Workers Center, one in four employees who identify as LGBTQ has experienced discrimination in the workplace due to their sexual orientation or sexual identity. Further, 27% of transgender workers said they were fired, denied job opportunities or promotions and 22% of LGBT workers did not make the same amount of money as their colleagues. When it comes to benefits, only 20% of U.S. companies offer paid family leave for LGBT employees.
In 2002, New York State passed The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits employee discrimination and/or harassment based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation. “In New York City, employers cannot ask their employees to ‘dress like a woman’ or tell them their behavior isn’t ‘manly enough,’” Mr. Sack said. “It is illegal to harass, name-call, or insult someone because they are LGBTQ or to misgender a transgender man by repeatedly calling him ‘her’ or ‘Ms.’ at work when he has made it clear that his pronouns and title are ‘he and him’ and ‘Mr.’”
While victims of such discrimination or harassment may be awarded compensatory damages for pain and suffering and the monetary value of any lost wages of benefits, the New York City law allows victims to collect punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. “Before filing a formal complaint against your employer, do your research and see which town or city closest to you provides the strongest protection,” Mr. Sack says. “Speak to a competent employment lawyer for advice and guidance in this area where applicable.”
Mr. Sack has been an employment attorney for more than 41 years. He is the author of 20 books, including his latest release, FIRED! Protect Your Rights & FGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit. He is a practicing labor and employment attorney and the author of 20 books, a lecturer, syndicated radio talk show host, and host of the podcast “Know Your Job Rights with Attorney Steven Sack.” Together with attorney Scott A. Lucas, he obtained a $6.2 million jury verdict in 2015 on behalf of three pregnant employees and a favorable New York Court of Appeals decision for a group of waiters who were denied their fair share of tips that a caterer withheld.