Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, SOGI Data | How it Impacts Your Discrimination Claim

This article covers: What does SOGI Stand for, Exactly? | Coverage for Employees | Coverage for Employers | How to File a Workplace Discrimination Claim | Timelines for Filing a Discrimination Charge | Find a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer to Help in Your Claim 

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, also known as SOGI, was introduced to the world in the Supreme Court case, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. In the case, the court made it clear that companies cannot terminate employment due to transgender status or sexual orientation, as doing so violates the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title VII.

Discrimination Lawsuits

For example, if an employer fires a gay man, but does not also fire a heterosexual man, then they could be opening themselves up to a potential lawsuit. The gay employee would have to show that they were fired due to their sexual orientation, on the basis of Sex and Gender.

Pronoun usage is also relevant under the law. For example, a biological male who identifies as a woman and uses She/Her pronouns cannot be discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of their gender identity.

It’s important to understand the basis of SOGI as a protected class, and how it was integrated into the modern workforce. Employees should know their rights and be prepared to sue if they’ve been discriminated against. Though HR reports are part of the process, they are not the endgame. To resolve your issues and secure compensation, you’ll want to file a sex discrimination claim using a qualified attorney. 

What Does SOGI Stand For, Exactly? 

SOGI stands for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in 2013 started to allow employees who experience SOGI-based discrimination to file sex discrimination charges under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Since this type discrimination, especially against transgenders and the LGBTQ+ community, is based in gender stereotypes, the EEOC categorizes it as part of sex discrimination.  

According to data provided by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, approximately 20 states including the District of Columbia prohibit sexual orientation and discrimination by sex or gender. The SOGI at its core applies to everyone, and is a very inclusive term.

Coverage for Employees

Title VII protects all current and former employees as well as applicants or candidates to various positions within companies. All employment statuses are covered, including: full time, part time, temporary, contract, seasonal. SOGI discrimination also applies to heterosexual workers, meaning, an employer cannot discriminate against a person for being Straight or Cisgendered.

Coverage for Employers

Title VII applies only to companies that employ 15 or more employees. Smaller businesses are not covered. For example, a small ice cream shop with just five employees is legally entitled to terminate a gay employee (because of their sexual orientation. 

For companies with 15 or more employees, exceptions include tribal nations and some religious institutions that limit hiring to those who carry the same religious beliefs. Even in places where state or local laws do not have provisions, Title VII provides necessary protections in these instances. 

How to File a Workplace Discrimination Claim  

Typically, Workplace Discrimination Claims are filed with EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There are several ways to file them, such as:

File a Discrimination Charge Through the EEOC Portal

Use the EEOC public portal to file a discrimination charge. After submitting your report, the EEOC will likely interview you to ask a few clarifying questions about your case.

Use the EEOC Portal to Schedule an In-Person Appointment Online

Schedule an appointment online through the same portal. This appointment will take you to the nearest field office for you to speak with an advocate in-person. Having the opportunity to address your concerns in person can help better assess your situation and quickly guide you to the next step. The EEOC has about 53 field offices, most of which should be in the closest major city to you.

Start the process by telephone by calling the EEOC’s 800-phone number

Start the process by phone. Calling the EEOC 800-number is also an option to discuss your situation and determine if your situation is covered by state and county laws.

File a discrimination charge with FEPAs, or Fair Employment Practices Agencies

In addition, the EEOC has agencies that they call Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) and have work-sharing agreements to prevent cross-duplication in the reporting process. If you file at a state or local level, you can tell them you want to file as well with the EEOC.  

Contact the Local EEOC Office and File by Mail

Another option for you is to file by mail. Typically, you will produce a letter that includes all of the pertinent details as well as the discriminatory action that was taken against you and mail it to the local EEOC office provided through their portal.

Timelines for Filing a Discrimination Charge 

There are different timelines for filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC depending on where the incident took place. The time limits for filing are between 180 and 300 calendar days. This limit depends on whether there is both a state and local law prohibiting employment discrimination or whether it is just a local law that makes the prohibition. It’s important to read detailed information about the filing process, talk to a lawyer for specific guidance if necessary, and pay attention to various time limits for filing.   

Find a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer to Help in Your Claim 

If you find that you’re the victim of discrimination in the workplace, you’ll want to find a skilled lawyer who can handle your case. Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 today for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll get you connected to a workplace discrimination lawyer in 10 minutes or less.

Hostile Work Environment Definition and How to Prove it Happened

As Americans spend most of their time at work, there are several laws that protect employees from a hostile work environment and hostility in the workplace. Thankfully, lawmakers agree the workplace should be a place where employees feel safe and comfortable. 

The working public often finds the concept of a hostile workplace confusing, as everyone has their own sensitivities. For example, one person may feel that a rude co-worker is creating a toxic work environment, while another may have no problem with it. 

Legal realities are quite different. 

Under the law, a hostile environment depends on a range of different criteria. Moreover, having a rude co-worker is not sufficient to qualify as hostility in the workplace. If you believe that your workplace does meet the criteria for a hostile work environment, contact an experienced hostile work environment attorney to address your concerns. They can and will guide you on to the next steps. 

For now, let us explore some basic definitions so that you have a better understanding of what a hostile workplace environment really is. 

What is a Hostile Work Environment? 

A hostile work environment is a situation where a coworker’s behavior makes it difficult for another employee to do their job. This can vary from state to state. Conduct includes words, actions, and so forth. 

Sometimes, reporting these conditions to a supervisor or manager does not fix the situation, and it can become severe. That’s usually where the assistance of a qualified hostile work environment lawyer is necessary. 

What Four Factors Could Contribute to a Hostile Work Environment? 

Analyses on this matter are not subjective. In other words, it is not enough to feel bothered by something your coworkers have said or done. The misconduct must be objectively problematic. 

How does the law measure this? 

Legal requirements to qualify for a hostile workplace include: 

  • Discriminatory harassment is unwelcomed and offensive conduct that is based on discrimination. This can include words or actions based on someone’s sex, gender, race, pregnancy status, religion, disability status, national origin, or age. 
  • The harassing conduct is regular, not a one-time event. 
  • Conduct lasted for a sufficiently lengthy period. 
  • The harassment is bad enough that an average person would find it offensive, scary, or abusive. 

If you can show that your employer did nothing to remedy the pervasive conduct, they will lose a lot of strategic leverage in the dispute. So, what constitutes a hostile environment in the workplace?  

Here are a few common examples of toxic workplace behaviors

  • Unwanted touching 
  • Sabotaging employees  
  • Offensive jokes about protected characteristics 
  • Sexual language or discussions of sexual acts 
  • Displaying racist or sexual pictures to others  
  • And more 

Unsurprisingly, many employees find these behaviors difficult to deal with, negatively impacting their ability to properly do their job. Simply put, discrimination and harassment create workplace hostility. 

How Does a Hostile Work Environment Tie Into Discrimination and Harassment Complaints? 

Discrimination occurs when one party treats another party unfavorably or unfairly due to a protected characteristic. 

Types of discrimination are: 

  • Sex 
  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Race 
  • Religion 
  • National origin 
  • Pregnancy status 
  • Disability 
  • Veteran status 
  • And more 

When an employee experiences discriminatory behavior, they feel incapable and unwelcome, leading to a bad work experience. 


Hostile Work Environment Retaliation 

Even if you correctly identified that you work in a hostile environment, your employer may make it difficult for you to report by engaging in retaliation. It is important to understand that retaliatory behavior is one of the things your boss can’t legally do, and it is also illegal. 

Those who speak up about unfair and discriminatory actions in the workplace may be subjected to retaliatory behavior from their employer. Retaliatory behavior involves any adverse behavior in the workplace setting — it can include everything from being fired to being passed over for a promotion. 

If you have been retaliated against, then the law will give you an additional and independent claim against your employer on that basis. And, this could result in even more compensation. In other words, you’ll have even more leverage to secure a positive outcome to your case. 

How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment? 

All legal claims — including discrimination and harassment — require proof. Without sufficient proof, many claims are dismissed (or are settled for less than they are actually worth). 

To win your case, you will need to show that there was workplace harassment or discrimination. The more evidence you have, the better. This evidence may include work performance reviews and assessments, for example, which can be used to show that the hostile work environment affected your job performance.  

But how do you know what to preserve and document? 

It is simple, really. Whenever you observe or experience anything that could be linked to a hostile work environment, document that behavior as best as possible. To strengthen your case, include:  

  1. Date 
  1. Time 
  1. Notes 
  1. Recordings 
  1. All written correspondence 

Make sure to include any documentation that involves co-workers, too. Why? Well, many people do not realize that when a coworker makes disparaging comments, it can also lead to a hostile environment. 

Additionally, an employer is liable for harassment, discrimination, and bullying in the workplace in certain circumstances. One example is: non-management staff exhibits offensive pervasive conduct. Employees inform their boss of the situation, but management does nothing to fix it. In this case, they are liable for the toxic work environment. 

Find a Hostile Work Environment Attorney Today 

Many employers have a workplace bullying policy in place to prevent a hostile or unsafe work environment.  However, good intentions aren’t enough.  Don’t assume that your employer has your best interests at-heart. 

Get in touch with experienced hostile work environment lawyers who can advocate on your behalf. 

You may be wondering: can you sue for hostile work environment?  If your case meets the legal criteria, you may be able to file a claim and secure compensation. But to understand what legal recourse there is, you should speak with a local hostile work environment attorney as soon as possible. 

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 today for a free and confidential consultation.