The New York State Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, or SONDA, and the New York City Human Rights Law both protect discrimination based on sexual orientation. Although efforts have been made, a Bronx employment termination attorney reports that currently no federal law prohibits such forms of discrimination.
Definition of Sexual Orientation
It is important to emphasize that an individual is protected on the basis of their actual orientation and what the person who is exhibiting discriminatory behavior thinks the individual’s sexual orientation is. A Bronx employment lawyer cites the exact language of SONDA as defining sexual orientation as “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.” The City law prohibits discrimination on “gender identity.”
Areas of Protection
Actual or perceived discrimination, as a Bronx employment termination attorney explains, is prohibited in:
- Use of public accommodations;
- Credit; and
- Exercise of civil rights, such as voting or serving on a jury.
A Bronx Employment Termination Attorney on Exceptions
Religious organizations and institutions or charities operated in conjunction with a religious organization are partially exempt. Under circumstances of promoting the religious purposes for which it was established, a Bronx employment lawyer reports limited some acts that would otherwise be prohibited are permitted in housing and employment.
Although some forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation are overt, many are more subtle. For example, a Bronx employment termination attorney can cite a business that has never promoted a homosexual worker despite a history of good performance. An individual who believes they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights within 12 months of the most recent act of discrimination or in civil court with three years of the most recent act.
The victim may be awarded lost wages, compensatory damages for pain and suffering, the securement of employment, reinstatement of employment or promotion. Punitive damages and attorney fees are typically not available under SONDA but maybe under city law.
Contact a Bronx Employment Lawyer for Legal Advice
If you believe you are a victim of discrimination, it is important to be certain you fully understand your rights. For any questions, call the Law Office of Delmas Costin, Jr., a Bronx employment termination attorney, at 718-618-0589.