Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an employee’s (or applicant’s) sexual orientation is a factor in an employer’s decision or action (e.g., hiring, firing, pay raise, promotion, etc.) regarding that employee.

Federal law does not presently cover sexual orientation discrimination. New York State and New York City law, however, prohibit such discrimination and retaliation against an employee for complaining about it. The law applies to New York businesses with four or more employees. Additionally, New York City law protects transgender employees (and job applicants), as well as those who suffer discrimination on the basis of their gender identity.

Legal Editor: Eric M. Nelson, January 2015 (updated July 2020)

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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