By: Lisanne L. Mikula, Esquire
The Stonewall Uprising began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. Police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes between the police and bar patrons and neighborhood residents.
The Stonewall Uprising sparked the LGBTQ civil rights movement in the United States and around the world. Despite significant inroads since Stonewall, however, the LGBTQ community experiences workplace discrimination at a disproportionate level.
A comprehensive 2020 survey of self-identified LGBTQ individuals conducted by the Center for American Progress, in conjunction with the non-partisan research group NORC at the University of Chicago, found that 36 percent of respondents reported suffering discrimination over the past year, with 62 percent of transgender respondents reporting being the victims of discrimination.
More than fifty years after Stonewall, Title VII, which is the federal law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, still does not include language which protects LGBTQ individuals from discrimination. The anti-discrimination statutes of more than half of the states—including Pennsylvania—are similarly silent regarding prohibiting discrimination on the basis of LGBTQ identity.
Interpreting existing laws prohibiting sex discrimination as including protections for LGBTQ persons, courts and regulatory agencies have recognized that individuals should be free from discrimination based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, without clear statutory language, the scope of legal protections for the LGBTQ community remains undefined and, because the composition of courts and agencies changes, recognition of the right to be free from discrimination is precarious.
Employees who have experienced discrimination in the workplace on the basis of LGBTQ identity—and employers wishing to ensure an equitable workplace for all—should seek the input of experienced legal counsel to navigate the still-developing field of protections for LGBTQ individuals.
The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP wishes you a Happy Pride Month and stands ready to work with you to ensure equality for members of the LGBTQ community—and all people —in the workplace.
The Law Firm of DiOrio & Sereni, LLP is a full-service law firm in Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We strive to help people, businesses and institutions throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania solve legal problems – and even prevent legal problems before they occur. To learn more about the full range of our specific practice
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