City Council Passes Legislation Protecting LGBTQ Community

City Council Passes Legislation Protecting LGBTQ Community

January, 2019

Last fall, Cuyahoga County Council enacted landmark legislation that protects members of the LGBTQ community in Ohio from discrimination when it comes to employment, housing, and public accommodations. The council also created a commission that has the power to levy fines against those who violate the law, so if you or a loved one were discriminated against at work or when attempting to secure housing, it is important to speak with an experienced sexual orientation discrimination attorney who can help ensure that this law is enforced.

Anti-Discrimination Protections

In late September, the Cuyahoga County Council definitively passed a law that offers protections to Ohio residents based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Although these protections have existed for residents when it comes to race, religion, military status, color, disability, age, familial status, ancestry, national origin, or sex for many years, laws addressing sexual orientation and gender identity are still evolving. For instance, only 20 municipalities in Ohio offer similar protections, six of which are actually located in Cuyahoga County, including Cleveland, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Olmsted Falls, and South Euclid.

Although similar protections are still not offered at the state level and federal law does not include sexual orientation as a protected characteristic in regards to workplace discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does recognize sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics, making discrimination against employees on such grounds illegal per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. According to the EEOC, some of the most common examples of discrimination against an employee because of his or her sex include:

  • Refusing to hire someone because that individual identifies as transgender;
  • Harassing an employee because of he or she is planning to transition genders or because of his or her sexual orientation;
  • Refusing to hire someone because of his or her sexual orientation;
  • Refusing a promote to an employee because of his or her sexual orientation;
  • Denying health insurance benefits to an employee’s spouse because of that individual’s sex; and
  • Refusing to use the name or gender pronoun that corresponds to an employee’s gender identity.

Under the terms of the recently enacted law, Ohio residents cannot be targeted in employment housing, or public accommodations because of their sex or gender in any of the aforementioned ways. In the event that a person is discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, he or she can now file a complaint with the Cuyahoga County Commission on Human Rights, which was created specifically to address these kinds of incidents. This commission then has the power to levy civil penalties, order the individual in question to cease engaging in discriminatory practices and to award attorney fees to the wronged parties.

Contact Our Office Today for Help with Your Case

If you were recently discriminated against because of a protected characteristic in the workplace, when attempting to secure housing, or when using public accommodations, please contact the dedicated employment discrimination legal team at Marshall & Forman, LLC by calling (614) 463-9790 today. We are standing by and eager to help you through each step of your case.