LGBTQ+ Workplace Discrimination Attorney

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Each person should be respected for their talents, work ethic, and individuality at their job. No employee should be held back or mistreated for their protected characteristics, including being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, LGBTQ discrimination at work still occurs at alarming rates.

At Smithey Law Group, LLC, we are here to fix this discrimination issue and bring relief to its victims.

If you are one of the millions of workers who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, know that state and federal laws protect you from poor treatment at the workplace.

If you have faced employment discrimination because of your LGBTQ+ status, know that an experienced LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination attorney from Smithey Law Group can champion your rights and recover all legal remedies you deserve. We are highly skilled and top-rated by our clients and the legal community. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

What Does LGBTQ Employment Discrimination Look Like?

LGBTQ+ work discrimination is any adverse treatment at work that is motivated by an employee’s LGBTQ+ status, including:

  • Refusal to hire,
  • Refusal to promote,
  • Refusal to increase pay,
  • Harassment,
  • Refusal to accommodate a disability,
  • Cut in pay or benefits,
  • Demotion,
  • Job termination,
  • Unwanted job transfer,
  • Unwarranted disciplinary action,
  • Refusal to recognize accomplishments, and
  • Exclusion from work-related opportunities or activities.

Whether you have experienced one or more of the above-listed types of discrimination, you likely have a right to seek legal relief through internal, administrative, or civil proceedings. We can identify the best action to address workplace discrimination in your case and maximize your damages.

How Common Is LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace?

Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ employment discrimination is far too common, even in these modern times. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute, more than 45% of LGBTQ+ workers reported unfair workplace treatment based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

More than two-thirds of LGBTQ+ workers surveyed reported hearing slurs, jokes, or negative comments about the LGBTQ+ community while at work. We consider this an unfortunate state of affairs that Smithey Law Group is well-equipped to eradicate on a case-by-case basis.

An Employee’s Rights Against LGBTQ+ Discrimination

There are two primary sources of protection for LGBTQ+ employees with discriminatory employers: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and State Government Article Section 20-602 (section 20-602) of the Code of Maryland. Under these laws, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of any of the following:

  • Sexual orientation,
  • Race,
  • Religion,
  • Color,
  • Sex,
  • Ancestry,
  • Disability,
  • Marital status,
  • Age (for those 40 or older),
  • Gender,
  • Gender identity, or
  • Genetic information.

While Title VII does not explicitly state it forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation, the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County held that LGBTQ+ discrimination is unlawful, sex-based discrimination under Title VII.

To assert your rights under section 20-602 or Title VII, you can file a complaint or charge with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After filing an internal complaint with your employer, you also have the option of filing a civil lawsuit or negotiating a resolution.

If you win your claim, you can recover:

  • Back pay,
  • Job reinstatement,
  • Front pay,
  • Benefit reinstatement,
  • Compensation for emotional harm,
  • A promotion,
  • Workplace policy changes,
  • Increased pay or benefits,
  • Compensation for out-of-pocket expenses or financial losses,
  • Punitive damages, and
  • Attorney fees.

Depending on the nature of your claim, you might have only 180 or 300 days to file your complaint (only 45 days for federal employees). Also, state and federal anti-discrimination employment laws apply only to employers with 15 employees or more. However, you can file a harassment complaint under Maryland law even if your employer has only one employee.

How an Employer Can Prevent and Address LGBTQ+ Discrimination

If you are an employer, a work culture of discrimination can hurt your business well before anyone files a complaint. The University of South Carolina reports that employment discrimination lowers productivity across an employer’s workforce. And if your employee seeks legal action to address discrimination, you could suffer several financial and reputational losses.

Aside from your desire to be a good employer, the potential for significant losses is why you should implement procedures to prevent discrimination in your workplace. These procedures could include:

  • Conducting regular employee and management training regarding anti-discrimination laws and how to comply;
  • Developing and enforcing robust anti-discrimination policies for your workplace;
  • Having a human resources department with multiple officers; and
  • Addressing and correcting each instance of discrimination in your workplace.

Failure to address workplace discrimination quickly could leave you liable for discrimination committed by a non-supervisor employee, patron, or contractor. For instance, an employer may be liable for anti-LGBTQ+ harassment committed by a client if the employer can’t prove that they reasonably tried to prevent and correct the behavior.

If you don’t know where to start when implementing anti-discrimination procedures, start with us. Our knowledgeable employment discrimination attorneys at Smithey Law Group can help you build a comprehensive and effective anti-discrimination program within your workplace.

Why Hire an Attorney?

Employment discrimination cases have detailed procedures, have tight turnarounds, and can require extensive evidence of misconduct and financial loss. However, these factors do not have to be intimidating when you have the right Maryland workplace discrimination attorney in your corner. An attorney can reduce or eliminate the stress of handling a workplace discrimination case by doing all of the following:

  • Identifying all legal claims available to you,
  • Timely submitting your complaints and defenses,
  • Utilizing sophisticated legal tools to get the best evidence for your claim,
  • Making persuasive arguments for your right to relief,
  • Negotiating on your behalf,
  • Connecting you to the best professionals (accounting, healthcare, etc.) to support your case, and
  • Protecting your interests in any settlement or internal resolution.

As a team of attorneys who focus 100% on labor and employment matters, Smithey Law Group can provide you with the best representation in your employment matter.

Why Choose Smithey Law Group?

At Smithey Law Group, our extensive advocacy skills have been proven repeatedly. Our clients give us top reviews, and our attorneys have received high honors from the professional community, including from:

  • SmarCEO’s Centers of Influence,
  • The Daily Record,
  • Lawdragon,
  • Bethesda Magazine, and
  • Super Lawyers.

We are also leaders in educating the broader community on employment matters. We have several attorneys who are widely published in employment law and litigation. Other professionals seek us out to speak about employment law at their professional events.

Most importantly, our attorneys at Smithey Law Group are dedicated to making the workplace safe and productive for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Smithey Law Group can be your best advocate in any LGBTQ+ workplace discrimination case.

Contact Smithey Law Group Today

The workplace can be a tricky environment to navigate, which is especially true if you’re facing discrimination because of your LGBTQ+ status. That is why you should speak to an attorney from Smithey Law Group when you recognize discriminatory mistreatment.

We have a rich and successful history of representing individuals in various employment disputes. No two employment cases are the same, and our diverse skill set can help ensure you receive the best representation for your unique needs. You can reach us online or by phone to schedule a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I File a Discrimination Complaint Against My Employer?

You can initiate legal action against workplace discrimination by filing an administrative complaint with the MCCR or EEOC. Although you will likely have to file an administrative complaint first, you can also file a lawsuit.

Can I Seek Legal Relief for Discrimination I Experience During a Job Interview?

Yes. State and federal laws protect employees and prospective employees alike. If you experienced mistreatment during the application or interview process, you might have the right to financial damages and other remedies.

What Remedies Can I Receive in an Employment Law Case?

If you successfully maintain your position in an employment law claim, you could win compensation for your financial losses and emotional harm, reinstatement of your job and benefits, and policy changes at work.

Is My Employer Liable for Discrimination I Experience from Non-Employees?

They can be. Employers can be liable for discrimination by non-supervisors, clients, patrons, customers, and contractors. However, you might have to prove that you reasonably tried to use your employer’s anti-discrimination procedures to address the issue and that your employer unreasonably failed to prevent or handle the discrimination.

How Long Do I Have to File a Discrimination Claim?

State and private employees have 180 or 300 days to file a complaint, depending on the facts of their cases. However, federal employees have only 45 days to begin the complaint process with an EEO Officer.