It was not long ago that members of the LGBT community needed to keep their identities secret at work. Workers often lived a dual life, not making reference to their spouses or partners at work for fear that they would experience retaliation, harassment, loss of opportunity and the loss of their jobs.
Times have changed. Many LGBT employees now understand that several Arizona cities have laws that protect workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Having these protections does mean that LGBT employees will be free of abuse and harassment on the job. Sometimes, employees have to stand up for their rights in court.
Gay firefighter filed a lawsuit to stop his harassers
A gay firefighter recently submitted a lawsuit in a California superior court after his supervisors discriminated against him on the basis of his sexuality. The firefighter further alleged that his supervisors discriminated against him because he had post-traumatic stress disorder.
The 38-year-old man said that he considered taking his own life due to the severity of the harassment and abuse he experienced on the job as a firefighter. The man filed a formal complaint with the department several years ago, in December 2015, but the department never carried out a complete investigation until after he could prove the abuse via a rude text message.
Following the investigation, the fire department report stated that the fire chief fostered a disruptive work environment that caused multiple subordinates to become physically ill. The man said that his coworkers and superiors shunned him every time he complained about his treatment or reached out for help.
The harassment began after the man disclosed his sexual preferences to peers in 2013. His superior began making rude, untrue and demeaning jokes about his sexuality and treating him in other harassing ways.
Put your workplace harassment and discrimination to a stop right now
Are you being harassed at work? You can end the harassment by directly requesting your harasser to stop the abuse. If it doesn’t stop, you can file a formal complaint in accordance with your workplace’s sexual harassment policies and procedures. If that doesn’t result in a change, you may want to consider filing a lawsuit to protect your legal rights.