The LGBTQ communities of California and the rest of the nation do not have specific protection under employment law, according to the Justice Department. The department stepped into a civil discrimination lawsuit in July to give its opinion to the question of whether sex discrimination includes sexual orientation discrimination.
The case involves a former employee of a skydiving company in New York who claims he was fired because he is gay. He contends that firing someone on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited under the Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex. The plaintiff was backed in his case by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which issued the statement, ‘Discrimination because of sexual orientation cannot rationally be distinguished from discrimination because of sex”.
The Justice Department disagreed, saying that sex discrimination only applies to situations where women and men are treated differently. The department’s court filing noted that Congress has ‘consistently declined” to amend the law regarding LGBTQ employment rights. The federal government had not been involved in the case when the Justice Department stepped in with its filing. The finding is in line with the findings of most federal courts in similar cases, but the America Civil Liberties Union says that the LGBTQ community feels like it is under attack by the current administration. The filing by the Justice Department came on the same day that President Trump said that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military.
Workplace discrimination can come in many forms, but employees are not legally protected by discrimination in any and every form that could happen. Someone who believes they have been discriminated against at work could seek legal counsel to help them determine if the employer has violated the laws that pertain to their situation.