Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawyer

Employment discrimination based on perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful.

However, Texas laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people from workplace discrimination are not always clear.

But all Texas employees have rights, and sexual orientation discrimination lawyer Dan A. Atkerson in Allen, TX, can help you fight for them.

Why Choose Dan Atkerson as Your Employment Lawyer?

Focused

Allen, TX, lawyer Dan Atkerson has practiced employment law for more than 35 years. A significant portion of his legal career has been handling Texas employment law claims for discrimination based on sex, disability, age, and other protected classes. He has experience fighting for hundreds of North Texas employees in Plano, Frisco, and nearby areas who were unlawfully discriminated against. Many of these were due to a violation of LGBTQ+ rights protection in the workplace.

Affordability

Many victims of sexual orientation discrimination, disability discrimination, or other types of workplace discrimination are afraid to pursue claims because they are worried about legal fees. However, Dan Atkerson works on a contingency basis. That means that you do not owe any money until or unless he is able to recover compensation on your behalf.

Sensitivity

If you are a victim of discrimination because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, it can be very intimidating to talk to someone about your concerns. Dan Atkerson understands that this is a difficult time, and he is sympathetic to his clients' needs. He is extremely patient and tolerant, and he will listen to the specifics of your case without rushing you.

Contact Us Now for a Free Consultation

In Allen, Frisco, Plano, and other parts of Texas, sexual orientation discrimination laws are incredibly complex and time-sensitive. As your employment attorney, Dan Atkerson can help you navigate the law and ensure that your claims are filed on time. 

If you have experienced discrimination at work based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, then reach out to our attorney for a free legal consultation.

You do not have to suffer harassment at work. Contact us online or call our Allen office:

(214) 383-3606

"He knew how to win"

Dan was the only lawyer who seemed to have time for me and knew that I had a case. He was personable, helpful, and most importantly he knew how to win without setting foot in a court room. TaQuanyia Stallworth

We Get Results  for Victims of Discrimination

With the help of Mr. Atkerson, a client who faced gender discrimination received sixty thousand dollars

Sexual orientation discrimination word cloud
LGBTQ+ rights protections are intended to defend employees against a sizable range of discrimination, from who you date to what gender you identify as. 

Federal Law Protects Workers from Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from workplace discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Disability

In the past, the law did not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but that changed in 2020.

You Are Not Alone

"Dan Atkerson is an advocate for those in need. He enters
peoples lives when they are at their lowest, and his unwavering
dedication gives you the confidence that you are not alone."
Forrest S.

Title VIII and How It Relates to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

Although Texas does not have any laws that protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that federal civil rights laws protected workers from discrimination by their employers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision which held that "prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) includes employment discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status." The Bostock case was comprised of several people alleging discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers. These people included: 

  • A welfare services coordinator who was fired
    after their employer found out they joined a gay softball league
  • A skydiving instructor who was fired
    after their employer learned they were gay
  • A funeral director who was fired
    after their employer learned they were transitioning from male to female 

In this case, the Supreme Court recognized that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status falls under discrimination on the basis of sex, which is a protected status.

Who Is Protected By Title VII?

Title VII makes it unlawful for a covered employer to discriminate against an employee based on their sexual orientation or transgender status. Covered employees include:

  • A job applicant
  • A full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary employee
  • A former employee

All covered employees in every state and U.S. territory are protected, regardless of their immigration status. Title VII also protects job applicants and employees from being discriminated against for being straight or cisgender.

However, Title VII only covers private-sector employers and federal, state, or local government employers who have 15 or more employees. It also covers unions and employment agencies. Title VII does not cover:

  • Employers with fewer than 15 employees
  • Employees who are considered independent contractors
  • Tribal nations
    (unless the employer is a private employer with 15 or more employees)
  • Religious organizations or religious educational institutions

If your employer has fewer than 15 employees, if you are an independent contractor, or if you are not sure whether you are protected by Title VII, contact Dan Atkerson in Allen, TX, for more information today.

More Title VII Protections

Under Title VII, employers cannot discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation or gender identity when it comes to hiring, firing, promotions, demotions, disciplinary actions, job training, projects, assignments, compensation, work benefits, and workplace conditions.

It also prohibits workplace harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity and requires the employer to take action to protect the employee if the employee reports harassment at work. It is important to note that harassment does not have to be sexual in nature. Harassment at work can include:

  • Offensive remarks about a person's sex
  • Offensive remarks about a person's sexual orientation
  • Offensive remarks about a person's gender identity or transgender status
  • Offensive remarks about a person's pregnancy

A harasser can be a supervisor, coworker, or customer. Any harassment that creates a hostile work environment or affects a person's employment is illegal. 

Texas Employment Laws

Like the majority of states in the United States, Texas state law does not protect employees from discrimination at work based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, employees may have actionable claims under other employment and labor laws for sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. This may include filing legal action for:

  • Wrongful termination
  • Workplace retaliation
  • Sexual harassment

Sexual orientation discrimination can also create a hostile work environment from defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Local Sexual Orientation Ordinances

The City Charter, or constitution, of Dallas, protects city employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression among other protected classes.

In 2014, the city of Dallas passed a resolution that stated: 

"The city is in full favor of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees of the city of Dallas, citizens within the city of Dallas, and visitors to the city of Dallas."

Later that year, Dallas citizens voted overwhelmingly to pass a charter prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Notable Texas Sexual
Orientation Discrimination Cases
The Case of Stacy Bailey

Stacy Bailey was an art teacher and Teacher of the Year recipient at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, Texas. After she showed her students a photo of her and her partner dressed as characters from Finding Nemo, a parent complained that Bailey was trying to promote a homosexual agenda. After an eight-month suspension, Bailey received a settlement of $100,000 from the Mansfield Independent School District. 

In addition to the settlement, the district also had to provide mandatory training to its employees and consider the adoption of a formal policy banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Protect Your Rights Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

Were you the victim of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination at work in Frisco, Plano, Allen, TX, or other areas of North Dallas? While the state does not have specific laws banning sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, federal and local laws protect you from discrimination based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

You still have rights that our Allen, TX, employment lawyer can help protect.

Message us or call us now to set up a free consultation:

(214) 383-3606

"I appreciate his knowledge and abilities"

My case was pretty complex and Dan came to my rescue and assured me that we would win my case and we did. I appreciate his knowledge and abilities to help in this matter and would refer him to anyone needing help in Employment law. Latoya Savala

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Scenarios What's Allowed & What's Not

I'm being discriminated against at work because of my sexual orientation, but I am not a U.S. citizen. Do I have any rights?

Yes. Title VII protects all applicants, employees, and former employees working for a private-sector or government employer with 15 employees or more, regardless of your legal status.

A religious organization refuses to hire me because of my sexual orientation or gender identity. Is that legal? 

Title VII allows religious organizations to hire people who share their own religion or religious beliefs. Therefore, religious organizations can limit hiring based on the tenants of their religion, and that would not be considered unlawful.

Texas does not have laws explicitly banning sexual orientation discrimination. Do I still have a case?

Potentially, yes. Title VII is a federal law that protects employees nationwide, regardless of state or local laws.

I think I was fired because I'm straight. Is that covered under sexual orientation discrimination laws?

Yes. The law doesn't just protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer people. Title VII also protects straight or cisgender (non-LGTBQ+) people against sexual orientation discrimination.

My boss is threatening to demote me because "I don't act very lady-like" in front of clients. Is that legal?

No. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees who do not conform to sexual stereotyping by exhibiting feminine or masculine behaviors. Additionally, covered employers cannot request that transgender employees dress in accordance with the sex that was assigned to them at birth.

I'm a transgender man but my employer is asking me to use the women's restroom. What do I do?

This is illegal. All men, including transgender men, are allowed to use the men's facilities because employers cannot deny an employee access to a facility that corresponds to that person's gender identity.

I recently transitioned and I've asked my boss to use the pronouns "she/her" with me multiple times, but they keep ignoring me. I've expressed that it hurts my feelings that they won't recognize my proper pronouns, but they laugh and tell me to stop being so sensitive. What are my options?

While it's not illegal to accidentally misuse the pronouns of a transgender employee, it sounds like the conduct is repeated and unwelcome. This could be considered unwelcome conduct based on gender identity, which is unlawful if the conduct is creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

I've been discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but I'm scared that I'll get fired if I file a complaint.

Don't be. It is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a complaint with the EEOC or contacting an employment lawyer because you genuinely believed that something unlawful took place.

I think I'm being harassed at work, but the acts are not sexual. Are there any protections for victims of non-sexual harassment in the workplace? 

Yes. Not all harassment is sexual in nature. According to the EEOC, harassment is any unwelcome conduct based on a protected class (race, religion, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity). Even if it is not sexual in nature, harassment is still unlawful when it affects employment or creates a hostile work environment.

Dan Atkerson

Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of North Texas employees for over nearly four decades. He is affiliated with several prestigious legal organizations, including: 

  • United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Texas Supreme Court and all Texas trial and appellate courts 
  • Texas federal courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas Bar Association 

Through aggressive, knowledgeable representation, he has helped clients all over the state reach significant verdicts and settlements. To schedule your free consultation at our law firm, request an appointment online or call us at (214) 383-3606.

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