Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Have you ever been told that you are too effeminate or masculine for your gender? Have you been the victim of a gender stereotype? Many times these stereotypes or cryptic messages are used as shorthand ways of being discriminatory towards people of different sexual orientations. If you have been the victim of this kind of behavior and you feel as if you are being discriminated because of your sexual orientation you need attorneys with the passion and expertise to represent you in righting this wrong.

Houston employment lawyers Robert J. Wiley and Kalandra N. Wheeler represent Houston workers who have been discriminated because of their sexual orientation. They have the experience to make sure that every avenue is pursued and no stone is left unturned. In short, when you have been discriminated because of your gender you need an attorney that understands your situation and that will fight for you.

Although the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) has been overturned, Houston workers still have some protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under the existing legal framework. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from what can be described as gender stereotyping, which often times just a shorthand way of discriminating an employee because of their sexual orientation.

Many times it may be difficult to determine if you have been discriminated because of your sexual orientation or if you have been stereotyped based on your gender. Examples from real cases that illustrate the underlying principles of sexual orientation discrimination are:
  • An employee was suspended after he began to express more feminine appearance and notified his employer he planned on undergoing a complete transformation into a women;
  • Terminating the benefits of an employee whose legal spouse was an individual transgender individual;
  • An individual was denied a job after the employer found out that they were a transgendered individual;
  • A woman was denied a promotion because she needed to walk more femininely, talk more femininely, and dress more femininely; and
  • A man suffering from a hostile work environment on an oil rig because his coworkers thought he was too feminine and thus consistently teased and harassed him.
Furthermore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has taken the position the Title VII’s discrimination based on sex encompasses sexual orientation. Even though courts are not bound by this unprecedented move it sends a strong message to employers that sexual orientation discrimination will not be tolerated. This is of course taken into consideration the decisions of courts unequivocally holding that pigeonholing an individual’s actions, appearance, and mannerisms on such a trivial thing as gender is illegal.

Such discrimination based on gender stereotypes can be found if the action of the employer rise to the level of creating a hostile work environment or if they lead to an adverse employment action. Common examples of adverse employment actions are:
  • Failure to be promoted;
  • Failure to be hired;
  • Being suspended;
  • Being demoted; and
  • Being terminated.
You have worked too hard to be illegally discriminated against just because of your sexual orientation. Too often are there erroneous stereotypes that just because someone is of a certain gender need to fit a certain image or that people of certain sexual orientations are not able to work at the same level as those of others unnecessarily affect our lives.

The only way to defend not only your rights as a hard working employee but those of others is to step forward. We can only do our job if workers step forward and fight unfair employment practices. It can be difficult to step forward and take a stand and that is why you need a team of professionals that will be with you every step of the way.

Take Action

If you feel you have been discriminated against merely because of your sexual orientation, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. There are many deadlines that require a quick turnaround. Depending on your case you have anywhere from 180 days to 300 days to report a violation of the Title VII to the EEOC. If you choose to contact us, you will generally meet with an attorney to discuss your matter. If we believe a violation of the law has occurred and if you decide to hire us, we will sign a representation agreement and enforce your rights.