What can I do if my boss insulted me due to my sexual orientation in front of other people?

My boss called me a flaming a$$ [email protected] in front of other people. I almost lost it right there but didn’t. I do have an HR office but it was the president of the company who said this. Do I have a case?

Asked on July 22, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There are states in which you would have a case; unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not one of them. The only forms of discrimination which are illegal are those specifically made illegal by state or federal law; any other form of "discrimination" is legal, even if unethical or unprofessional. For example: no one protects an employee's political views, so your boss may discriminate againt you because he is Democratic and you Republican (or vice versa) and that is permissible.

Federal law prohibits discriminating against (or harassing) an employee due to his or her age over 40, sex, disability, race, or religion. Your state adds a few other categories, like having a GED instead of a regular high school diploma; but unfortunately, neither federal nor your state's law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Hence what your boss said, while morally wrong and  reprehenisible, is legal, and you do not have any viable legal claim.

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