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Is sexual orientation discrimination illegal in New York?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination |

Today, employees may prefer working with business leaders who provide equal access to opportunities and resources to all. They could be looking for a safe space where they can grow regardless of their race, religion and sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, despite the calls for a more inclusive environment for the members of the LGBTQIA+ community, many queer employees continue to face discrimination at work.

While federal law does not have any provisions specifically about sexual orientation prejudice, this offense is a civil rights violation under New York state law. Under this regulation, you may sue your employer or your company if you experience discriminatory behavior.

Protections for sexual minorities

In New York, it is illegal to harass, name-call, insult or intimidate LGBTQ+ people because of their gender preference. Under state law, company leaders cannot make employment decisions, such as promotions or increases in pay, based on an employee’s sexual orientation.

Businesses and organizations cannot require gender non-conforming individuals to present “proof of gender” when exercising their right to be addressed using their preferred name or pronoun. This rule also applies when they want to use single-sex facilities at the office, such as bathrooms or locker rooms.

It is also illegal to treat workers based on masculine and feminine stereotypes in the state. For example, managers cannot criticize male employees for not being “manly enough” or require female staff to wear dresses at work even if they do not want to.

Know your rights if you are facing discrimination

If you did not get a job or lost a job in New York because of your sexual orientation, you may take legal action. You can even report the case to the NYC Commission on Human Rights. The agency will listen to your story and allow you to make the report anonymously.