Is there anything that I can do about being discriminated against as a lesbian?

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Is there anything that I can do about being discriminated against as a lesbian?

I have held the same job for 5 years and now that I have a new manager I am having problems at work. My partner also works there and we have had no problems until the past month when this new General Manager took over and realized that my partner and I are lesbians. Also, recently there are rumors going around the store that I am stealing money along with some very homophobic as well as very rude homosexual comments and postings.

Asked on February 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there appears to be nothing you can do about the discrimination. Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of race, religion, sex (gender), age over 40, and disability, but does not protect sexual orientation. Some states, e.g. NJ, NY, CA, will prohibit discriminating against someone at work due to his/her sexual orientation, but NC is not one of them. Thus, it appears that it is legal to discrimination against a lesbian in your state.

However, when someone publically (i.e. to any other people) makes untrue factual statements about you that damage your reputation, that person may be committing defamation and you may have a legal cause of action against him or her (and sometimes also his or her employer). A claim that you are stealing is a negative or damaging factual statement; if it is untrue, then it may be defamation, and you may have a lawsuit. If you wish to explore this possibility, you should meet with a personal injury attorney.


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