Sexual Orientation Discrimination

  1. Jill Andrews
  2. September 25, 2017 5:52 pm

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination among the employees in the workplace transpires when they are subjected to negative employment action, a certain level of denial, harassment, etc. because of their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation discrimination has been in the workplace for as far as we can remember. Even with the federal, state, and local laws have greatly improved the situation for the LGBT community, but unfortunately, people belonging to this community still face discrimination in their workplace. Therefore, it is important for the people to know what is included in sexual orientation discrimination and other discrimination.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation can impact an individual’s job status, health benefits, working environment, and many other issues in the workplace. Here is everything you need to know about sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.


Defining sexual orientation discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when someone is treated differently because of their sexual orientation. This discrimination occurs because of one’s perception of the sexual orientation whether it is correct or not. One another reason of sexual orientation discrimination one’s relationship with someone who comes from different sexual orientation.


Here is why people are discriminated on the basis of their sexual orientation-

  • Harassment– A person is commented upon their sexual activities, mannerism, sexual favor requests, sexual jokes, grabbing, gestures, leering, sexual assault, etc. The harasser may be your employer, co-worker, customer, or supervisor. He/she may be of opposite sex or same sex. 
  • Different TreatmentYou don’t get a job, promoted, fired, or disciplined at your workplace because your employer is not okay by you being straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. And it is not just yelling that we are referring to here. Offering termination on the wrong basis, not giving due promotion, being offered write-ups without any basis, etc. comes under the different treatment. The different behavior might come from just the employees or everyone including the CEO of the company.


The Law For Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The Supreme passed the decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that the same-sex couples are lawful under the constitution and they have the freedom to marry in any state as well as territory. Under the law, they have the same benefits that the heterosexual couples possess in the marriage. Other than this law there has been no other law that prohibits different discrimination against sexual orientation. Similar to race, sex, color, religion, and nationality of a person is not preserved under federal law sexual orientation is also to prevent it.

However, in the recent times, there has been a huge improvement in the act of sexual orientation discrimination. Many companies and legislators are stepping forward to bring a change to the situation. While the Supreme Court is making efforts to stop this sort of discrimination, it has not passed any bill regarding this yet.


Additionally, even though the Supreme Court passed the rule that LGBT Americans have the right to get married legally, this community still faces the risk of denying services. To conquer this lack of protection, there has been new legislation that has been put on the table; however, it is yet to be passed by the Congress.


The relation between sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination

Sexual harassment is one of the types of sexual orientation discrimination which is against the federal law as well as the laws of many states irrespective of the fact whether there is a law against sexual orientation discrimination or not. Although, courts have been trying to focus on differentiating between both these concepts in order to provide protection against lesbian and gay employees in the company who have faced harassment. The court has passed the decision that certain comments on a person’s sexual orientation are considered under discrimination that is yet to be covered under the federal law, however sexual harassment which is also a kind of harassment is described under the federal law. Unwanted sexual advances, asking for sexual favors, both verbal as well as physical sexual act comes under sexual harassment. The Supreme Court of United States of America has ruled that a person doesn’t necessarily have to be of opposite sex to claim for the sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can occur in different situations and places.


Here are the following situations where one can face sexual harassment-

  •    The unwanted sexual act can be done by your supervisor, co-work, non-employee, etc.
  •    The victim can be harmed economically as a result of sexual harassment
  •    The sexual approach must be unwanted by the victim to be categorized under sexual harassment.


This is all about sexual orientation discrimination that is must to know being an individual on this planet.