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Can LGBT people be fired for their orientation in California?

Despite major strides forward in the equal treatment of LGBT people in our country’s society, there are still setbacks that you may understandably find disheartening. There are numerous people with prejudices against those with different sexual orientations or gender identification, and they may take any opportunity to discriminate against them. You may be interested in learning about labor protections for LGBT people in California, especially if you are worried about your job.

Can you be fired simply for being gay or lesbian or for identifying as a different gender than your birth-assigned one? According to Inc., 21 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have protections in place for LGBT people in the workforce, California being one of them. This means that your employer is not permitted to discipline or terminate you solely on the basis of your gender identification or sexual orientation. Additionally, your co-workers and superiors may not taunt or harass you for the same.

Despite these reassuring protections being in place, they do not necessarily stop a biased employer from covertly discriminating against LGBT people. For example, a supervisor who does not like your sexual orientation cannot fire you for that reason, but he or she may fabricate a different excuse, such as your being late to work, to unfairly discipline you. It is unlawful to wrongfully terminate a reliable, skilled employee for frivolous terms based on one’s personal prejudices.

Workplace discrimination and wrongful termination are complex areas of law. Therefore, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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