Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community can come with its unique set of challenges, especially regarding your career. Unfortunately, discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ employees are still too common in the workplace. However, you can take steps to protect yourself from harassment, and you have legal options if you find yourself the victim of harassment. Here's what you need to know.
What Is Harassment?
Harassment in the workplace is defined as unwelcome conduct that is either directed at a protected characteristic or creates a hostile work environment. In the case of LGBTQ+ employees, harassment can be directed at someone's sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. Harassment can take many forms, including but not limited to:
- slurs or epithets
- off-color jokes or comments
- physical assaults or threats of violence
- unwelcome sexual advances or propositions
- looks or gestures that are threatening, derogatory, or obscene
- repeated requests for dates after being told no
- displaying derogatory pictures, cartoons, or other offensive material in the workplace
How to Protect Yourself from Workplace Discrimination
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from workplace discrimination:
1. Be aware of your company's policies. Most companies have policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind. Familiarize yourself with these policies so that you know what your rights are and how to report any incidents of discrimination or harassment.
2. Come out only when you're ready. While you shouldn't have to hide your sexual orientation or gender identity, coming out at work is a personal decision. Please don't do it until you're ready and comfortable.
3. Document everything. If you experience discrimination or harassment at work, it's essential to document everything. Write down dates, times, names, and any other relevant details so that you have a record if you decide to take action later on.
4. Know your state's laws. Employment discrimination laws vary from state to state, so it's important to know what protections are available to you where you live and work. Both West Virginia Law and federal laws protect employees from discrimination and harassment.
5. Seek legal help. Suppose you've been the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment. In that case, you may consider speaking with an experienced employment law attorney who can help you understand your rights and options moving forward.
Count On Us
No one deserves to be discriminated against or harassed at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity—but sadly, it happens all too often. If you're an LGBTQ+ employee subjected to this type of treatment, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and fight back against workplace discrimination. At Bailess Law Firm PLLC, we're dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ employees stand up for their rights. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact us today at (304) 841-0037 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.