Federal law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation (straight / heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender). Other states may broaden this protection to other forms of gender identity and expression, such as cross-dressing.
Your company cannot refuse to hire, refuse to promote, or terminate an employee because of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
To prevent a hostile workplace, your supervisors may monitor your conversations and the conversations of others for:
- Derogatory jokes and comments about anyone’s sexual identity or the identity as a whole (“Two gay guys walk into a bar…”)
- Speculation about orientation or gender of another person, especially a fellow employee
- Rumors about an employee’s sexual orientation or activity
- Outing someone, whether or not it’s true