Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people often face severe social, economic, and health disparities. These disparities exist in a wide range of situations, from finding employment to accessing services. According to NPR reports, over 90% of all LGBTQ people believe there is discrimination against them.
Most people see a connection between discrimination and deteriorating health. For example, the New York Times reports that sexual minorities living in communities with a high level of prejudice tend to die more than a decade earlier than those in less prejudiced communities.
At the State College, PA, Law Office of Andrew Shubin, you will receive high-quality legal assistance if you or someone you know has been discriminated against due to being LGBTQ. Our foremost goal is to assist in seeking proper redress of the losses you suffered due to the prejudice and stigma of those who denied your rights. Schedule a free consultation to meet with an attorney who can help you determine your available causes of action. Contact us at (814) 867-3115 today.
Overview of LGBTQ Anti-Discrimination Laws
While there is no law explicitly protecting LGBTQ individuals against discrimination in Pennsylvania, there are federal, state, and local laws that protect all who face discrimination based on their gender. Also, State College, PA has instituted local anti-discrimination ordinances and has an office of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission entrusted with reviewing cases of LGBTQ discrimination.
With your attorney’s assistance, you can determine whether the appropriate forum to file your discrimination claim is at the state, local, or federal level. There are some types of cases, like employment discrimination, where you are required to exhaust your administrative remedies with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a lawsuit in federal court.
Filing a Discrimination Claim with the Borough of State College, PA
Anti-discrimination ordinances in Pennsylvania serve an important purpose in that there are rights recognized more widely than at the state and federal levels. Also, you can file a complaint that will result in an investigation and can lead to some redress at the local level.
State College employers cannot discriminate against anyone for their “gender identity or expression” or based on their sex or sexual orientation. If you seek redress under this ordinance, you can file a complaint with the Borough Manager’s Office or the State College Human Relations Commission. You have a limited time window of 180 days from the day of the alleged act.
State College, PA bans housing discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, sexual identity, or gender identity. Some of the prohibited types of discrimination include discriminatory advertisements and the refusal to rent to someone for being LGBTQ.
Federal Protections Against LGBTQ Discrimination
LGBTQ people can seek federal protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Title VII Employment and Anti-Retaliation Protections
Title VII protects LGBTQ individuals who are discriminated against in employment and who are retaliated against for opposing discriminatory employment practices, such as reporting incidents of sexual harassment or filing claims of discrimination against an employer.
The EEOC enforces Title VII in the context of employment. The EEOC also has the authority to issue rules to interpret Title VII as it relates to LGBTQ cases. In a case involving a supervisor making negative comments about an employee’s sexual orientation, the EEOC found that “sexual orientation discrimination” constitutes “sex discrimination” under Title VII. [Baldwin (E.E.O.C. Appeal 2015)] Other significant rulings by the EEOC include:
- Intentional discrimination against transgender individuals because of that person’s gender identity is discrimination based on sex [Macy (E.E.O.C. Appeal 2012)]
- Intentionally misusing a transgender’s name and pronoun may violate Title VII [Jameson (E.E.O.C. Appeal 2013)]
Not all federal courts follow EEOC decisions. For example, not all federal courts agree that Title VII bans sexual orientation discrimination in line with Baldwin’s interpretation. Every state and each case of LGBTQ employment discrimination presents different questions of law and fact. With your attorney’s assistance, you can determine if your LGBTQ employment discrimination claim warrants EEOC review or if it should more appropriately brought before a local panel. However, if the EEOC issues a “right-to-sue” letter, you can proceed to file a claim in federal district court against your employer.
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
“Equal Protection” under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits legislation that hurts the members of the LGBTQ community more than any other group, and it bans government actors from engaging in discriminatory actions.
The LGBTQ community is a group that is often affected by legislative and government bias. If you are suddenly confronted with denial of benefits or access to services based on a statute, this law may be unconstitutional, even if the term “LGBTQ” is not explicitly mentioned. A qualified LGBTQ discrimination attorney can help you determine your available causes of action.
Some private entities or individuals can act as government officials or use governmental funding. When these entities deny access to LGBTQ people to spousal benefits, adoption services or marriage services in Pennsylvania, you should consider filing a legal claim. Most times businesses will come up with any jargon to get away with discrimination —even claim protection under constitutional freedoms or religious beliefs. This entity may be violating your constitutional rights.
Call Your Committed Penn State College, PA LGBTQ Discrimination Lawyer
Call State College, PA, attorney Andrew Shubin if you or someone you know has suffered discrimination for being a member of the LGBTQ community. Call (814) 867-3115 to learn more about how the relentless team at the Law Office of Andrew Shubin can help you fight for your rights.