Individuals who are bisexual, or experience sexual attraction to people of multiple genders, make up about 50 percent of the LGBTQ+ population, making them the largest single group in that community. Bisexual individuals can also identify as pansexual or transgender. Despite their prevalence in the LGBTQ+ community, bisexual individuals face disbelief and ridicule, even from other members of the community, based on a number of harmful stigmas. However, bisexuality is a recognized and legitimate sexual orientation, and bisexual individuals are protected against employment discrimination by state and federal laws.
LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace, including bisexual discrimination, is, unfortunately, a prevalent problem in New Jersey despite the increased societal acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in recent years. According to Catalyst, 22% of LGBTQ+ Americans have not been paid equally or promoted at the same rate as their peers, almost half (46%) are closeted in the workplace, and over half (53%) have heard jokes, slurs, or stereotypes at work. With offices in Red Bank, NJ and Marlton, NJ the employment discrimination lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. are dedicated to fighting for the rights of the bisexual community.
Understanding Bisexual Discrimination
Bisexual individuals often face unique discrimination among LGBTQ+ individuals based on misconceptions and stereotypes, for example:
- Bisexuality isn’t real. Much of the discrimination bisexual individuals face stems from the idea that people cannot fathom someone not being attracted to only one gender. The most common form of bisexual discrimination is bisexual denial or erasure, where people are accused of just going through a phase, just looking for attention, or being closeted about their real sexuality and using bisexuality as an excuse.
- Bisexuals are polyamorous or deviant. Another common form of bisexual discrimination is the harmful stereotype that bisexual individuals are sexually ‘greedy,’ prone to cheating, or often engage in group sex.
- Bisexuals spread HIV. One stereotype of bisexual individuals is that they spread HIV. Although gay men are at a disproportionate risk of HIV, that does not mean that bisexual individuals are more likely to spread the disease. It should be noted that HIV/AIDS Discrimination in the workplace is also prohibited by state and federal laws.
If a coworker, employer, or client makes references to these stereotypes in the workplace, it can be considered bisexual discrimination, and you should contact our experienced employment discrimination attorneys to discuss your situation.
Protections Against Bisexual Discrimination in the Workplace Under NJ State Law
- Familial status
- Marital status
- Domestic Partnership or civil union status
- Affectional or sexual orientation
- Gender identity or expression
- Genetic information
- AIDS or HIV status
Despite this state law, many bisexual individuals are still unfortunately subject to workplace discrimination, including harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation. According to American Progress, between 15% and 43% of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced some form of harassment in the workplace. Bisexual individuals who have experienced such workplace discrimination may have been:
- Demoted, unfairly disciplined, or fired because they are bisexual;
- Denied promotions or other advancement opportunities based on their sexuality;
- Denied access to facilities or resources in the workplace due to their sexuality;
- Given differential treatment or compensation because of their sexual orientation;
- Subject to inappropriate jokes, remarks, stereotyping, or other behavior that contributes to a hostile work environment, including jokes based around the stereotypes mentioned above;
- Discriminated based on gender expression, such as their clothing, manner of speaking or mannerisms;
- Retaliated against for coming out regarding their gender identity; and/or
- Subjected to sexual harassment based on their sexual orientation.
At McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C., our attorneys believe that all employees are entitled to a workplace that is free from discrimination. While LGBTQ+ rights have expanded in the past few years, there is still much to be accomplished. Our NJ bisexual discrimination lawyers fight to obtain maximum compensation for those affected by workplace discrimination.
Filing A Complaint for Discrimination
New Jersey employees who have experienced workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation may file a complaint in the New Jersey Superior Court or with the Division of Civil Rights (DCR), a New Jersey state agency. Filing with DCR is not required and an employee may sue her employer directly in Superior Court. Before filing a complaint, employees who feel they have been the victim of bisexual discrimination should first contact McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. to discuss your rights and various options.
How New Jersey Employers Can Prevent Bisexual Discrimination in the Workplace
Employers should be aware of applicable federal and state laws to avoid sexual orientation or gender identity-based discrimination claims. It is the responsibility of an employer to take proactive measures to prevent, investigate, address, and defend any possible claims of bisexual discrimination. If it is determined that unlawful discrimination occurred, companies and their administrators may be subject to statutory penalties or ordered to take affirmative action to remedy the discrimination.
To avoid legal penalties and ensure that you are taking appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful workplace discrimination, it is imperative to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can provide sound advice regarding your responsibilities under New Jersey employment law.
Remedies And Penalties for Bisexual Discrimination in NJ
If you have been the victim of bisexual discrimination in the workplace, you may be entitled to relief including reinstatement, hiring, upgrading, back pay, and damages for pain and humiliation. The New Jersey LGBTQ+ discrimination lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. are experienced in exploring all legal options for bisexual discrimination claims. Contact our Red Bank or Marlton office today to discuss your case, and our law firm will help you every step of the way in seeking justice for unlawful bisexual discrimination in the workplace.