Protections for LGBTQ Members in New York
By Thomas Ricotta on December 23rd, 2017 in In The News
Nowadays, more and more companies—and the community in general—are more accepting of those who do not fall within heterosexual norms. People are feeling more comfortable coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and expressing themselves accordingly.
However, there are still many people who express hatred and discrimination against LGBT community members, especially in the workplace. The good news is that LGBTQ community members in New York have various laws that protect them from such discrimination and harassment. In fact, New York has been proactive in providing protections for those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender—and not just when it comes to employment. State and local laws give these individuals a wide range of legal rights.
Whether you are looking for a job, a house or a place to attend school, you cannot face discrimination based on your sexual orientation. Read on to learn about the many protections you have in New York.
Current LGBTQ Protections
New York operates under the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), which became effective in January 2003. Under this act, it is illegal for anyone in the state to face sexual orientation discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, education, public accommodations and credit. These protections are extended to same-sex couples.
SONDA does not offer as much protection to transgender individuals. While SONDA does apply when a transgender person faces discrimination based upon perceived sexual orientation, it does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression. However, there are various cities and counties throughout New York that do prohibit this type of discrimination. Plus, there is an amendment in the works that will include “gender identity” and “gender expression” under state law.
In 2002, New York passed the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), which provides elementary and high school students in the state with a safe school environment. Students who are LGBTQ members are able to attend school without the fear of discrimination, taunting, bullying, threats, harassment, intimidation and abuse while on school property and school buses and attending school functions. Cyberbullying is also prohibited under this law.
New York also supports marriage equality. Same-sex couples in the state have the right to marry and receive the same rights, responsibilities, and benefits that opposite-sex couples enjoy.
What to Do if You Have Experienced Discrimination
Those who experience sexual orientation discrimination should take the following steps:
- Document the discrimination. Gather witnesses and collect evidence, such as emails or photos. Include the date, time and location of the incident and what was said.
- Report the incident. Follow your company’s rules for filing a complaint.
- Pursue legal action. Contact a lawyer who is experienced in LGBT employment discrimination.
Work with an Experienced Sexual Orientation Discrimination Attorney
As a gay man, lesbian or transgender person, you want to feel comfortable in your environment. Discrimination against LGBTQ members is illegal and you need to act quickly to protect your legal rights.
If you have experienced discrimination based on your sexual orientation, the experienced New York City LGBT employment discrimination attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help you. To schedule a consultation, contact our firm today at (347) 464-8694.