Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Discrimination

In June 2020, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers of more than 15 employees from discriminating against employees and applicants because of sexual orientation and/or gender identity with regard to hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.

The unfavorable treatment of an individual because of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression is a form of sex discrimination. Sexual orientation refers to an attraction to members of the same sex, opposite sex, somewhere in between, or none at all. Gender identity refers to one’s self identification as a male, female, somewhere in between, or no gender at all.

Examples of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination:

  • Firing an employee because of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Firing an employee due to gender transition
  • Denying benefits to same sex spouses, while offering benefits to spouses of the opposite sex
  • Treating an employee unfavorably due to sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Harassing an employee due to sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Allowing an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity to influence promotional decisions, performance evaluations, or disciplinary actions


Harassment due to one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is also a form of discrimination. This behavior is illegal when it is so severe or frequent that it creates a hostile work environment or it results in an adverse employment action such as a demotion or firing. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor from another area, a co-worker or a non-employee such as a customer or client.

Under Title VII, private sector employees must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 calendar days of a discriminatory action. You will forfeit important legal rights if you do not file a timely charge with the EEOC. If you’ve already missed a deadline, call to discuss your options.

If you’ve been subjected to discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, contact Rich Daugherty. He will fight to protect your rights.

Whether your employment has been wrongfully terminated, you’re in fear of losing your job unlawfully, or you’re stuck in an untenable situation, contact Rich. He will be by your side every step of the way to reach a fair resolution of your case. In addition to litigating cases, Rich has negotiated confidential severance agreements favorable to his clients.

Rich offers a one-on-one relationship with his clients. When you contact his office, you will speak directly with him.

You can arrange for an initial phone conference at no charge.

Rich represents clients from across North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Wilmington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and more. He is available to meet with prospective clients outside of Chapel Hill when circumstances permit. Evening appointments are also available.

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