Is Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Legal in Texas?
Texas didn’t legalize gay marriage until June of 2017. It took years for members of the LGBTQ+ community to be allowed to marry. When the law passed legalizing marriage, a lot of people thought Texas would continue to offer additional legal protections to LGBTQ+ people. This was not the case. LGBTQ+ individuals have faced discrimination in so many aspects of their lives. It’s been going on for decades. So, people had hoped that a court progressive enough to legalize gay marriage would be progressive enough to make employment discrimination illegal.
One of the areas in which members of the LGBTQ+ community face heavy discrimination is in employment. Technically, employment discrimination is absolutely legal in Texas. There is no state law protecting the LGBTQ+ from employment discrimination. Employers in Texas are allowed to hire and fire employees for being gay.
Is Employment Discrimination Legal in Texas?
For decades, the courts in Texas have held that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is legal. It looked as if this might be changing in April of 2018.
Last year, the District Court in Texas heard a case last year that dealt with discrimination of transgender women in the workplace. Surprisingly, the Court did hold that workplace discrimination is against the law. This was the first time a Federal Court made a decision quite like this.
What this ruling means is that if you’re discriminated against under the Federal law Title 9, you can file suit in federal court. You still have to prove that you’ve been discriminated against. However, it at least gives you standing to sue.
This doesn’t mean it’s illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in Texas. You cannot file suit in state court for this type of violation. Does this make sense? No – it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. However, it is the status quo for now.
LGBTQ+ Attorneys in Houston Know There are Many Types of Employment Discrimination
Members of the LGBTQ+ suffer from all sorts of discrimination. One area in which they are directly impacted is employment discrimination. People are fired and denied jobs because of their sexual orientation. It happens every day.
Some of the most common types of employment discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ include:
- Denied promotions
- Negative hiring decisions
The law provides protection from discrimination to many different groups of people. Some of the groups who get protection under the law include:
- Disabled people
- People over a certain age
Even though the law offers protection to these groups of people, it doesn’t prevent discrimination. It simply offers damages for people who can prove that they were discriminated against.
Can Houston LGBTQ+ Attorneys File Suit for Employment Discrimination?
Just because the law doesn’t specifically protect the LGBTQ+ community, this doesn’t mean you can’t file suit for discrimination. Anyone who feels they’ve been discriminated against can technically file a lawsuit. It’s a question of whether or not you can win.
Even if your lawyer isn’t sure you can win in court, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue your claim. If you pursue a claim for employment discrimination based on your sexual orientation, you could achieve the following:
- Your employer may be want to settle
- You may be compensation even if it’s just to avoid negative publicity
- If you still have the job, you may receive the promotion you earned
- Perhaps your case will be the one that finally changes the law
Your attorney realizes how frustrating this must be for you. There’s no reason why anyone should be allowed to discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation. However, if it happens, your attorney can fight to get you compensation.
What do LGBTQ+ Attorneys in Texas Think the Future Holds?
There’s no real way of knowing what the future holds for LGBTQ+ members. Employment discrimination is wrong, regardless of the basis. However, when it’s done based on your sexual orientation, it’s doubly frustrating. Your Houston LGBTQ+ attorney does understand this.
The District Court case in Texas does offer some hope. If plaintiffs are able to sue in federal court for discrimination based on sexual orientation, it makes sense for the State Courts in Texas to follow suit. Also, if this happens, then finally, your rights will be protected.
If you feel you’ve been discriminated against by your employer because of your sexual orientation, call an LGBTQ+ attorney in Houston today. They can answer any questions you may have. They will do their best to get you justice.
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