How To Fight Sexual Orientation Discrimination At Work

Sexual orientation discrimination is not actually illegal according to federal law. However, there is an executive order that protects federal employees from such discrimination. But non-federal employees are not included in this order. Some courts protect the LGBT community and consider them a group of people under special protection from workplace discrimination.

Sexual orientation discrimination is still prevalent.

Unfortunately, workplace discrimination is not unusual, especially in the case of the LGBT community. And despite not having any federal laws specifically making sexual orientation discrimination unlawful, there are a few options available to those who want to fight sexual orientation discrimination at work. In fact, employment law can help protect LGBT employees from discrimination.

Who is protected from sexual orientation discrimination in Pennsylvania?

Five Steps To Fight Sexual Orientation Discrimination In The Workplace

Experiencing any type of discrimination is frustrating. But discrimination based on your sexual orientation or sexual identity is even more depressing. You may feel like there is nothing that you can do since the federal law doesn’t specifically protect you. However, that is not true.

The below steps are helpful but not comprehensive. Be sure to contact an employment attorney with your specific questions according to your circumstances so you can better fight sexual orientation discrimination.

  1. Document discrimination.

When a negative interaction occurs in your workplace that may be instigated by your sexual orientation, document what was said, the day it happened, and the time. Keep copies of e-mails, texts, or any other hostile communication from a coworker or supervisor.

  1. Confront your coworker.

Every situation is different. Therefore, it may not be in your best interest to approach your coworker about their discrimination against you for your sexual orientation. But, you may want to send them an e-mail explaining the situation and asking if he or she can respect you in the future. Of course, if you fear that they may become more hostile to you, this may not be the best option.

  1. Check the employee handbook.

Does your employer have a policy for workplace discrimination? Does it include sexual orientation discrimination? If so, you should prepare to report your situation to a neutral manager in your company or someone in the HR department.

  1. Research the state and local law.

If your workplace does not have a way to deal with sexual orientation discrimination, check into the state law and the local law in your area. If you’re in Pennsylvania, there are quite a few counties that have made it illegal to discriminate against employees for their sexual orientation. From here, you can choose to file a complaint.

  1. Talk to an employment lawyer.

No one understands the employment laws better than an employment attorney with years of experience and study. He or she will be able to create a plan of action with you to protect your rights under the law.

Nothing is worse than experiencing discrimination for your sexual orientation. It’s frustrating, demeaning, and exhausting. Despite not being officially protected by the Federal law, the EEOC has ruled that sexual orientation discrimination is illegal.


If you find yourself in the stressful situation of sexual orientation discrimination or harassment and you’re not sure what to do next, contact an employment lawyer who will know how to navigate your situation and what your rights are under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an employment attorney: (412) 626-5626 or