SOGI Discrimination stands for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination. Everyone has a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). SOGI is an inclusive term that applies to everyone, whether they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, heterosexual or cisgender. The latter means you identify with the same gender that one was assigned at birth.
Whatever your SOGI is you are protected from discrimination due to your SOGI status under federal retaliation laws. An employer cannot demote, fire or discriminate against an employee based on their gender identity.
What is Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination?
The law does not allow sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment. This means that you are protected from getting fired, not getting hired, getting paid less, not getting promotions, being laid off, and more due to your sexual orientation or gender identity.
It is illegal to subject any employee to workplace harassment that leads to a hostile work environment based on the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Harassment could include offensive or derogatory remarks about sexual orientation (e.g., being gay or straight). Harassment could also include offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's transgender status or gender transition.
What Are Some Examples of SOGI Discrimination?
The law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, comments that are offhand, or isolated incidents that aren't too serious. However, SOGI harassment is considered to be illegal when it happens frequently or is so severe that constitutes as discrimination or when it results in an adverse employment decision about an employee such as the victim being fired or demoted.
For example, if you are fired because you identify as female and are married to another female, then this falls under SOGI discrimination.
Similarly, if you were assigned male at birth, but denied a promotion you rightfully deserved after coming out as identifying as a female, then you may have experienced SOGI discrimination.
Get Help With Your SOGI Discrimination Claim
If you believe your employer has discriminated against you due to your sexual orientation and gender identity you may have a case for lodging a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). If you have been fired and you are an at will employee you may have difficulty proving why you have been fired. However, discussing your case with an employment attorney may give you the best chance of winning a discrimination claim based on your sexual identity.
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