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Wrongful Termination Based on Being Gay or Lesbian

Los Angeles Lawyers Representing Wrongfully Terminated Workers

Both California and federal law protect employees from sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, some workers still lose their jobs because they are gay or lesbian, or because they are perceived as being gay or lesbian. This can result in feelings of humiliation and depression and can result in a period of unemployment. If you were fired because of your sexual orientation in Los Angeles, you may have grounds to sue for wrongful termination based on being gay or lesbian. Our Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers understand the nuances of California and federal law and will fight to see that you get the compensation and justice you deserve.

Wrongful Termination Based on Being Gay or Lesbian

California’s Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA) expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act doesn’t include explicit protection for these characteristics, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces certain federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, has stated that sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination. If you were fired because you are gay or lesbian, you may have grounds to file for wrongful termination.

In general, employment is at-will in California. This means you can be terminated at any time and your employer doesn’t need to provide you with a reason. However, there are situations in which the termination is considered wrongful, and you can bring a lawsuit in those situations. One such situation is when you are fired due to your sexual orientation or because of your association with someone of a different sexual orientation. It is illegal under FEHA for your employer to fire you because of your sexual orientation or in retaliation against you for filing a charge of sex discrimination or harassment, or protecting illegal sexual orientation discrimination against someone else.

In some cases, an employee may not be explicitly terminated, but is required to endure intolerable conditions for an improper reason that violates public policy. This may make the employee feel he or she has been forced to resign. You can bring a wrongful termination suit on the grounds of constructive discharge in violation of public policy and/or FEHA if you are made to endure harassment or discrimination based on being gay or lesbian.

To establish constructive discharge, you will need to show you were employed by the defendant, you were subjected to working conditions that violated public policy and/or FEHA and were so intolerable that a reasonable person in your position would have no reasonable alternative but to resign, that the employer intentionally created or knowingly allowed those conditions, that you resigned due to those working conditions, and that the working conditions were a substantial factor in causing you harm.

To succeed on this type of claim, the working conditions must be extraordinarily egregious and occurring at the time of your resignation to be considered intolerable. For example, if you were enduring slurs or physical harassment by multiple coworkers or your supervisor due to your sexual orientation, and your employer did nothing in response to your complaint, these work conditions may provide a reason to bring a constructive discharge claim. Further, the employer’s knowledge of the effect these conditions were having is key to making a wrongful termination claim on the basis of constructive discharge. It is wise to consult an employment discrimination attorney before you resign to make sure that what is happening to you rises to an actionable level.

Damages that may be available for wrongful termination lawsuit include back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, interest, attorneys’ fees. In some cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages for truly egregious conduct by your employer. Title VII has caps on the amount of damages you can recover, while FEHA does not.

Consult a Wrongful Termination Attorney in Los Angeles

If you have faced wrongful termination based on being gay or lesbian, our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys may be able to represent you in a lawsuit to recover damages. We strive to provide aggressive legal representation to workers who have been harmed in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Palm Springs, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Van Nuys, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, and San Bernardino counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form.

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