Am i being discriminated against?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am i being discriminated against?

I am a gay male and I like to wear nail polish and have been for the past 3 years. My school is accepting of me and doesn’t have a problem, now, since i started working they told me i wasn’t able to because i was a boy. Women at my work are able to. The dress code book doesn’t say anything about nail polish for men or women. I also talked to HR and they just tell me they can’t answer the question. Is this discrimination? I work for Dollar General. Also, is it okay for my boss to share a picture of me to new employees and her friends with out asking or telling me about it? She found a picture of me on line, on twitter and I did have makeup on and she has shown all of the new employees. The employees have brought it up to me. One even told me she told them that my boss showed my picture to a guy friend asking if i was a man or woman and if I was cute or not.

Asked on September 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, while some states or major cities (e.g. NYC, CA, and NJ) bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, your state (Louisiana) does not, and federal law does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, either. Only forms of discrimination barred by law are prohibited; otherwise, employers can discriminate or harass all they want. (For example: a progressive employer could discriminate against Trump supporters; a conservative one against people who supported Clinton or Sanders.) Since sexual orientation is not a protected category where you are, your employer may discriminate against you.
In addition, wearing nail polish would not be protected even if sexual orientation discrimination were proibited: wearing nail polish is not part of being gay any more than wearing  polo shirts is part of being straight. An employer may promulgate dress codes for male and female employees that differ without it being illegal discrimination to do so: e.g. men can be prohibited from wearing skirts at work, men required to. Employers have near absolute discretion regarding dress and grooming codes.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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