What Are The Elements Of A Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim

What Are The Elements Of A Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim?

In order for an employee to bring a sexual orientation discrimination claim in California, he or she must prove that:

Adverse employment actions can include definitive actions, such as termination or demotion. But even adverse employment actions that indicate a pattern of behaviors that, when considered as a whole, are shown to adversely affect the terms or privileges of an employee can be considered as adverse employment actions.

What is an adverse employment action? These are actions that are likely to impair an otherwise reasonable employee’s job performance or opportunities for advancement or promotion in their chosen career path. However, actions that do little more than upset an employee will not count as instances of adverse employment action. 

An example of a definitive action would be an employer who discovers an employee is gay and immediately fires him or her. However, as mentioned, actions do not need to reach this level. 

And finally, a substantial motivating reason is the real reason that an applicable adverse employment action was taken in the first place. This could be discriminatory in nature, but not necessarily. 

Administrative Complaint

In general, an employee must first file an administrative complaint before proceeding with a lawsuit. If you are bringing a case under Title VII — which covers most forms of discrimination in the workplace — you must first file an administrative complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before you can file a lawsuit. 

Furthermore, any employee who wants to file a lawsuit in California must first file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Once the EEOC or DFEH has completed its investigation, and determined whether or not you have a valid claim, you will be notified if you can file a claim in court. 

Filing A Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim in Court

If you have completed all the necessary administrative complaint filing requirements, you may file a lawsuit. It is important that you consult with an experienced sexual orientation discrimination lawyer in order to achieve the best possible outcome. An experienced discrimination lawyer will handle all the paperwork and details for you.

The Discovery Stage

In the discovery stage, your lawyer will take depositions (these are recorded statements taken under oath) of any witnesses or alleged wrongdoers. Your lawyer will request or subpoena documents, ask and answer questions, and collect evidence. 

Also, if you are filing a sexual orientation claim, be prepared: your employer’s lawyer will take your own deposition as well.


After the discovery stage concludes, you and your lawyer will prepare evidence to submit at trial. Be aware that you must be present in court for every day of your trial. This process can last several days, or even weeks in many cases. Your sexual orientation discrimination lawyer will work with you and any other witnesses to make sure that everyone is ready to testify. 

While the possibility of a trial can be daunting, it’s important to recognize that most discrimination claims never see the inside of a courtroom and are typically settled before a lawsuit is ever filed.

What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?

If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The sexual orientation discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling sexual orientation discrimination cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.

We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a sexual orientation discrimination attorney in California, contact our office at 1-800-247-9235.

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