Advocating For The Rights Of Southern California Employees Since 2007

LGBT workers may face subtle sex discrimination

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2020 | Firm News |

In a recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers from sex discrimination in employment. At the time of the ruling, California already offered similar protections to members of the LGBT community.

While firing an employee because he or she is gay likely violates both federal and state law, not all sex discrimination is so clear-cut. Still, subtle discrimination is still discrimination. If any of the following apply to you, your employer may be engaging in impermissible sex-related discrimination.


To do your job effectively, you likely must meet with clients, customers and others. You also need access to important information. If your manager excludes you from meetings or materials, he or she may be discriminating against you.

Dress code

There is nothing inherently wrong with an employer implementing a dress code or requiring a uniform. Nevertheless, if your boss asks you to wear something different or targets you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, he or she may have discriminatory intentions.

Work schedules

If you work in a place that has shifts or staggered work schedules, you should realize these may be another way for an employer to engage in illegal discrimination. After revealing your sexual orientation or gender identity, your manager may switch you to an inconvenient shift. He or she may also tinker with your job duties. If these actions are because of your LGBT status, you may have a valid discrimination claim.


Retaliation is usually a separate matter from workplace discrimination. That is, retaliation comes after an employee files a claim or otherwise asserts his or her legal rights. Nevertheless, if your employer retaliates against you, you may have additional evidence of ongoing discrimination.

You have a right to perform your job duties without facing discrimination. Still, whether your employer is discriminating against you or trying to retaliate, you should document both the clear-cut and subtle signs of impermissible behavior.