Just recently a federal jury awarded over $1 million to a transgender plaintiff in Oklahoma. The lawsuit claimed that she had been discriminated against for four years as a professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and had been denied tenure because of her transgender status, according to Lexology. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and while her hostile work environment claim was denied, the claim for discrimination and employer retaliation was accepted. If you have faced employment discrimination because of your sexual orientation, you need to contact a lawyer at once.
Who is Protected?
While same-sex marriage is legal in Oklahoma, there is no state law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) employees from harassment or discrimination based on their sexual orientation. According to the Williams Institute, Oklahoma is home to over 62,000 LGBT workers, all of whom have no protection from employment discrimination. However, Tulsa is one of seven cities in the state where sexual orientation-based employment discrimination is prohibited in the public sector. Nowhere in the state is it prohibited in the private sector. For example, if you work in a privately owned business, such as Wal-Mart or a family owned store, you are most likely not protected from discrimination, though you should contact a lawyer to find out what your options may be.
Filing a Claim Against Your Employer as a Public Employee
If you have experienced workplace discrimination based on your sexual orientation as a public employee, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit either at the federal or local Tulsa level depending on whether you are a federal employee or a city employee. Common types of discrimination caused by your employer include the following:
- Refusal to hire or recruit;
- Refusal to provide equal pay, promotion, or benefits;
- Firing the employee; and
- Harassment, which includes name calling, crude jokes, negative comments, exclusion, bullying, threats, physical assault, and more.
If your coworkers have engaged in harassment and your employer has not taken reasonable steps to intervene, they may be held liable for creating a hostile work environment.
Reach Out to an Experienced Tulsa Employment Attorney Today
Sadly, most LGBT workers have no protection against discrimination and harassment under Oklahoma law. However, if you are a public employee, there may be hope. Please contact the Tulsa law offices of Frasier, Frasier & Hickman, LLP at once to find out more.