Employment laws that protect the rights of LGBT employees have been a hot button topic for some time now. In addition to marriage equality, workplace protections seek to make discrimination against LGBT employees similar to other protections individuals receive. Did you know that more than two-thirds of small business owners across the state of Washington and the United States believe that there should be state and federal laws in place that prohibit employment discrimination against gay and transgender employees.
The national poll conducted by Small Business Majority also noted that making workplace discrimination against LGBT employees illegal will help employers attract “the best and the brightest employees.”
The Los Angeles Times quotes the founder of Small Business Majority John Arensmeyer on the topic: “Policies that encourage workplace discrimination introduce inefficiencies and costs that cut into profits and undermined small businesses’ bottom lines. Implementing nondiscrimination laws that allow employers to treat all people equally, regardless of sexual orientation, will help small businesses retain quality employees and free them from an extra administrative burden.”
Interestingly enough, the state of Washington is considering multiple bills relating to employment (and beyond) protections for the LGBT community. The city of Seattle already has certain safeguards in place.
Just because certain form ofdiscrimination is illegal doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. What it does mean is that there are legal options in place for those individuals that experience a type of discrimination that is barred by state and federal laws. Common remedies for employment discrimination:
· Reinstatement: in many instances, an employee will lose his or her job as a result of illegal workplace discrimination and really, they just want their old job back. Reinstatement back into their old position is a common remedy that hopefully also puts an end to the discrimination.
· Back pay: In addition to getting back the position the employee lost as a result of the discrimination, employees are also eligible for back pay—a dollar figure that represents the amount the employee lost during thewrongful termination.
· Financial compensation: There are also many financial options available to an individual that endured illegal workplace discrimination. These damages typically represent the pain and suffering the employee experienced
· Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are reserved for extremely reprehensible behavior as punishment for the employer. In many workplace scenarios, the workplace discrimination that takes place is not a single instance but a pattern that has been taking place for years– it is usually these cases that punitive damages are reserved for.
If you feel like you have been a victim of employment discrimination in Washington, you should get in touch with an employment law attorney to discuss the options available to you. Discrimination can occur even if you don’t get the position you applied for. The important thing to remember is that there are protections in place, but you have to seek them out.