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New Hampshire Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Harassment Lawyer

Sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is, unfortunately, still common. New Hampshire law explicitly protects workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and federal courts have increasingly held that sexual orientation discrimination also violates federal law. Attorneys with the New Hampshire Employee Rights Group have fought employers who discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) workers. If you have been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination based on your sexual orientation, we can help you. (As discussed on this page of our website, the New Hampshire Employee Rights Group also represents transgender people who experience employment discrimination.)

What is Sexual Orientation Discrimination?

Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or applicant differently or less favorably on account of the person’s sexual orientation. For example, it is unlawful for an employer to terminate a LGB employee because of their sexual orientation. Refusing to hire or refusing to promote a LGB person because of their sexual orientation--or because they married someone of the same sex--are other examples of unlawful sexual orientation discrimination.

Harassment that creates a hostile work environment is another form of discrimination. Managers, co-workers, clients, or customers can create a hostile work environment through verbal, written, or physical conduct.

Some examples of behavior that may create a hostile work environment include:

  • Insensitive jokes or comments about LGB people, delivered verbally or through email;
  • Ridiculing a LGB person because their appearance or behavior does not conform to stereotypical notions of how men and women should look, dress, or act;
  • Offensive emails or text messages about a person's sexual orientation;
  • Use of homophobic slurs;
  • Inappropriate comments concerning a specific employee’s sexual orientation or LGB people in general.

Cowokers and supervisors may create a hostile work environmentin many different ways. If you are unsure as to whether you have encountered unlawful sexual orientation discrimination, contact an experienced employment lawyer.

U.S. and New Hampshire Laws Protect Workers From Sexual Orientation Discrimination

New Hampshire's Law Against Discrimination explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. So, it is absolutely clear in New Hampshire that employers may not discriminate against workers based on their sexual orientation.

The extent to which federal law prohibits this type of discrimination is less clear. There is no federal law that explicitly prohibits sexual orientation discrimination but the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the position that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination and so, according to the EEOC, sexual orientation discrimination also violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Some federal courts have agreed with the EEOC but others have not. The U.S. Department of Justice has disagreed with the EEOC, which creates more uncertainty on whether federal law prohibits sexual orientation discrimination. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on the issue and side with the EEOC.

Victims of Sexual Orientation Discrimination may Seek Damages

Employers who discriminate against workers based on their sexual orientation may be liable for damages. These damages may include monetary compensation for lost pay, lost benefits, and emotional distress. In some cases, punitive damages may also be appropriate.

In order to file an employment discrimination lawsuit alleging a violation of New Hampshire's Law Against Discrimination or the federal Civil Rights Act, a worker must first complete certain procedural requirements. Ask an experienced employment lawyer for assistance with filing a sexual orientation discrimination claim.

Trust Your Case to Experienced Attorneys

If you have experienced sexual orientation discrimination and you want to fight back, the New Hampshire Employee Rights Group may be able to assist you. The employment discrimination lawyers of the New Hampshire Employee Rights Group have a deep understanding of the state and federal laws that protect working people. We represent workers throughout the state, from Portsmouth to Pittsburg and all places in between. Call 833.365.2929 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your consultation.