Anyone who believes they were fired because of their sexual orientation.
Despite legal protections, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continues to receive hundreds of complaints from employees who were wrongfully terminated because of their sexual orientation.
What Protections Do I Have as a LGBT Against Wrongful Termination?
Unfortunately, federal discrimination laws still do not explicitly state that you can’t be fired for your sexual orientation. This doesn’t mean, however, that gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender workers are without protections.
Many states have adopted laws that make it illegal to fire people simply because of their sexual orientation.
Furthermore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) takes the stance that federal law does in fact cover gay and transgender employees because these workers are being discriminated against because of their sex – a characteristic that’s protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Courts – including the Supreme Court – have interpreted the law similarly and, in many cases, have ruled in favor of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender employees.
That means if you were fired for being gay or transgender, you may be able to file a lawsuit, even if federal law does not explicitly state that you’re covered.
What If My Boss Only Thought I Was Gay or Had HIV/AIDS?
It’s important to note that federal law protects employees against discrimination based on their employer’s perception of them. Therefore, if you were terminated because your boss thought you were gay or had HIV/AIDS, you may still have a claim.
Have These Lawsuits Been Successful?
Yes. Here are some of the results obtained over the last several years in cases involving the wrongful termination of LGBT employees:
$300,000 for a woman who worked at a tech company and was allegedly fired by her homophobic supervisor for being a lesbian
$150,000 for an employee at an eye care clinic who was fired because she was transgender
$50,000 for a supermarket employee who was allegedly terminated for being transgender
$30,000 for two teachers who were allegedly wrongfully terminated for being gay