LGBT Discrimination Lawyers Columbus, Ohio
LGBT Discrimination Attorney – Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer – Gender Identity Discrimination Attorney
We are experienced Columbus, Ohio LGBT and sexual orientation discrimination lawyers. Our Ohio Employment attorneys are well versed in LGBT discrimination and handle cases related to gender identity discrimination and gender stereotyping discrimination.
What law applies?
Both federal and Ohio law have protections for individuals discriminated against because of sexual orientation and gender identity. If you are part of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community and are dealing with harassment, discrimination or poor treatment at work, we can help. Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on gender/sex, but sexual orientation itself is not explicitly mentioned. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recognized claims under Title VII for sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity or gender stereotyping discrimination. The EEOC’s rationale is based on the idea that sexual orientation is a “sex-based consideration” and therefore inescapably linked to sex/gender. The EEOC’s website is a great resource for those interested in learning about LGBT discrimination: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/enforcement_protections_lgbt_workers.cfm.
Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an employee is subjected to an negative employment action, like termination, harassment or denial of benefits, because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or the sexual orientation of someone he or she is close to. Sexual orientation discrimination means treating someone differently solely because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. Therefore, sexual orientation discrimination can occur in a situation where the employer perceives an employee to be of a certain sexual orientation, but the employer is mistaken. Visit the EEOC’s website for the latest litigation related to these claims: www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/litigation/selected/lgbt_facts.cfm.
Examples of LGBT-Related Sex Discrimination Claims
- Firing an individual who is transgendered after finding out that person plans to transition from male to female or female to male
- Failing to hire an employee because he or she is transgendered
- Denying an employee a promotion because he is gay or straight
- Harassing an employee because of his or her sexual orientation, usually by sexually oriented comments or disparaging remarks related to sexual orientation
- Failing to hire an employee because he or she is gay, straight or transgendered
There are many other examples not listed here so contact one of our Columbus LGBT discrimination attorneys today.
Protection for Transgendered Individuals
In Macy v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821, 2012 WL 1435995 (April 20, 2012), the Commission held that intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person’s gender identity is, by definition, discrimination based on sex and therefore violates Title VII.
Applying Macy, the Commission has also held that an employer’s restrictions on a transgender woman’s ability to use a common female restroom facility constitutes disparate treatment, Lusardi v. Dep’t of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133395, 2015 WL 1607756 (Mar. 27, 2015), that intentional misuse of a transgender employee’s new name and pronoun may constitute sex-based discrimination and/or harassment, Jameson v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120130992, 2013 WL 2368729 (May 21, 2013), and that an employer’s failure to revise its records pursuant to changes in gender identity stated a valid Title VII sex discrimination claim, Complainant v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133123, 2014 WL 1653484 (Apr. 16, 2014).
Gender Stereotyping Theory
Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, a Supreme Court case, was important for expanding the definition of “sex” under Title VII. Hopkins was a female manager who was denied a partnership interest because she exhibited masculine traits. Price Waterhouse informed her that she could only increase her changes for a partnership interest by walking and talking more femininely, wearing makeup and taking a course at charm school, among others. The Court held that Hopkins was discriminated against because of sex and the theory of “sex or gender stereotyping” emerged. The Court said, “an employer who acts on the basis of a belief that a woman cannot be aggressive, or that she must not be, has acted on the basis of gender.” Price Waterhouse was the first case to define the word “sex” as both biological sex and gender, which includes “socially acceptable” roles and behaviors that define a woman as a woman and a man as a man. If the employer takes any of these roles and behaviors into consideration, they have taken gender into account.
After the Price Waterhouse decision, other courts began to recognize the gender stereotyping theory as it relates to discrimination claims under Title VII. For example, the Ninth Circuit found that the unrelenting barrage of same sex verbal abuse by male co-workers against the plaintiff constituted sex discrimination under Title VII. The Seventh Circuit came to a similar holding in Doe v. Belleville, where the plaintiff endured harassment from male co-workers based on his gender.
Next, the Supreme Court decided Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. The plaintiff, Joseph Oncale, was subjected to sex-related, humiliating actions and comments from his make co-workers in the presence of the rest of the crew. The actions included physical assaults in a sexual manner and even a threat of rape. Oncale filed a claim of sex discrimination against his employer after he complained and felt the situation was not dealt with appropriately. The Court held that Title VII also protects same-sex harassment between heterosexual men.
In 2004, the Sixth Circuit, in a case from Ohio, was the first federal court to apply the gender stereotyping theory to transgendered plaintiffs in Smith v. City of Salem. Plaintiff Smith worked for the City of Salem Fire Department. When he began exhibiting a more feminine appearance, he spoke with his supervisor about his gender identity disorder. The supervisor promised he’d keep the conversation confidential but he did not and the city began to hatch a plan to terminate his employment, based on his gender identity disorder. The Sixth Circuit held that Smith had a valid claim under Title VII “because of sex” as a result of his non-conforming gender behavior. Specifically, the Court said, “discrimination against a plaintiff who is a transsexual- and therefore fails to act and/or identify with his or her gender- is no different from the discrimination directed against Hopkins in Price Waterhouse who, in sex-stereotypical terms, did not act like a woman.”
Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
In Baldwin v. Dep’t of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080 (July 15, 2015), the Commission held that a claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily states a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII.
The Baldwin decision explains that allegations of sexual orientation discrimination necessarily involve sex-based considerations. First, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily involves treating an employee differently because of his or her sex. For example, a lesbian employee disciplined for displaying a picture of her female spouse can allege that an employer took a different action against her based on her sex where the employer did not discipline a male employee for displaying a picture of his female spouse. Sexual orientation discrimination is also sex discrimination because it is associational discrimination on the basis of sex.
That is, an employee alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is alleging that the employer took the employee’s sex into account by treating him or her differently for associating with a person of the same sex. Finally, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is sex discrimination because it necessarily involves discrimination based on gender stereotypes, including employer beliefs about the person to whom the employee should be attracted.
Issues such as these are on the rise. The Columbus LGBT discrimination lawyers at The Friedmann Firm will fight for you.
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Rachel was absolutely amazing. As an attorney she really took the time to really listen to my concerns. She was honest and kept me informed every step of the way. The outcome was favorable on my behalf and I appreciate her efforts to achieve a good outcome. I would highly recommend her and the Friedmann firm to represent me if ever needed in future.
Working with Rachel Sabo from Friedmann Firm was absolutely amazing! She upholds integrity, honesty and without a doubt fights for what is right! Rachel was extremely transparent and real! Please don’t let wrong be right, Rachel will strive to advocate and put her whole heart in obtaining resolve in your situation! What an absolute blessing, she won my case in less than 1 week💪
My experience with the Friedmann Firm is an absolute 5 stars. From my very first call with Karen, to all of my communication with Rachel, everything exceeded all of my expectations. Rachel and Karen were so caring and understanding in a very sensitive situation. They responded immediately to any questions or concerns I had. I would HIGHLY recommend the Friedmann Firm. They are caring, professional, understanding, and I would trust them with any issue I have in the future.
Rachel and the Friedmann Firm were fantastic to work with. The thought of needing an employment lawyer was scary for me, it was confusing and complex. But Rachel listened, asked questions and took time to really understand me and my priorities. I felt calm, supported and excited for the first time in weeks after talking to her!! We worked together to review everything, set expectations and meet my priorities! Thanks Rachel and team for all your work!!!
Rachel Friedmann of the Friedman Firm was my attorney for a very recent legal matter. I would highly recommend Rachel based on her legal knowledge, her honest appraisal of the matter and expected outcomes, her open communication and timely responses to my questions and the matter itself, and her steadfastness in dealing with the opposing counsel until a final agreement was reached.
Rachel and her staff went over and above the call of duty to help me achieve fiscal resolution to my legal issue. She wasn’t always available to talk but was always responsive via text and email when in court out of the office and even on vacation. I feel she earned her percentage cut.
Couldn’t be happier with the representation I received from Jamie Bailey on my civil litigation case. She worked tirelessly to resolve the case and in the end negotiated a fair settlement on my behalf. I would highly recommend her to anyone! Thanks for everything Friedman law firm.
Friedman Firm was a great help in a difficult time in my life. They went above and beyond to get me back on track. Rachel was so good to work with and is extremely knowledgeable about the law and employment rights. Can't thank them enough for all there hard work. Highly recommend them to anyone.
The Friedmann Firm (specifically Pete Friedmann) represented me through what seemed like a never ending employment discrimination suit. The suit was filed just before Covid shut everything down in 2020. Add to that a former employer who refused to admit fault. In spite of all of that, Pete stood resolute in his representation of me and working for the best outcome for me. We ended up settling prior to trial and I was more than satisfied with the results. Pete was always available to answer questions and reassure me throughout this process. I highly recommend The Friedmann Firm!
Pete Friedmann and his firm are fantastic. He represented me for more than a year going through a suit with a previous employer. He walked me through every step of the process and was always quick to respond to any questions I had. My settlement came in and we parted ways with both sides being pleased with the outcome. I highly recommend the Friedmann firm and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future if the need arose. Thank you, Pete!
Rachel and the Friedmann Firm have been amazing to work with. Rachel was very helpful, listened to our concerns and took our case. She communicated well throughout and really worked for us. We were very well represented!
I loved working with The Friedmann Firm. Rachel and Jamie are exceptional lawyers and were diligent in reviewing my case and letting me know of my options. Jamie was extremely thorough and handled even the smallest details of my case with ease. The entire process was seamless and they were always quick to respond to emails and calls. I would definitely recommend working with The Friedmann Firm.
I would recommend Rachel Sabo Friedmann and the Friedmann firm for severance negotiations. Rachel was always available and responsive and made an effort to ensure I was updated on every step of the process. Her diligent efforts produced a prompt resolution and we are very happy with the results!