Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal under the New York City and New York State Human Rights Laws. Employees in New York are protected by state and city law from being subjected to a hostile work environment because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and cannot be terminated, passed over for promotions or desirable work assignments, denied benefits, or subjected to other discriminatory actions or harassment by their employer because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
Federal employment discrimination statutes do not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Federal law does, however, treat discrimination based on sex or gender stereotypes as a form of sex discrimination, making it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against, or to fail to stop the harassment of, an employee because of the employee’s failure to conform with gender stereotypes. Distinguishing between a claim of sexual orientation discrimination and a claim of discrimination based on gender stereotyping can often be difficult and is, to some extent, a game of semantics. Fortunately for New Yorkers, New York state and city employment discrimination laws expressly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, making it unnecessary to have a federal law claim to seek legal redress for employment discrimination or harassment at work based on sexual orientation.
If you work in New York, you are protected against discrimination and harassment in the workplace because of your sexual orientation. If you believe your rights have been violated, and want to know what your legal options are, we can help.