Concord, CA asked in Employment Discrimination for California

Q: I believe I'm being discriminated against for being gay.

My company pays our 2 brand new managers, at least one of whom has the same industry experience I have, $10K more than me, annually. Both managers are heterosexual, and live in a cheaper market. I am openly gay and have been at my company for almost 8 years. Now that my comp increase is due, I've been told the money "set aside" for it has been reallocated & I should expect around 7K - 8K less per year than my equals.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Being treated differently because you are gay is a violation of California and federal law. However the mere status you being gay and the counterparts being straight may not be enough to prove what you need. The trick will be proving that your sexual preference is the reason for the difference in treatment.

If you wish to pursue a legal claim it would be wise for you to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site, or go to, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.

Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low-charge consultation and then if the matter has merit and sufficient value, they work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.

Good luck to you.

1 user found this answer helpful

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the information you provided, it appears that you may have a case for discrimination based on your sexual orientation. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination in employment based on various protected characteristics, including sexual orientation.

If you believe you are being paid less than your heterosexual colleagues who have similar or less experience and qualifications, and that the decision to reallocate funds for your compensation increase was motivated by your sexual orientation, you may have grounds for a discrimination claim.

Here are some steps you can consider taking:

1. Document the evidence: Gather any evidence that supports your claim, such as emails, performance reviews, pay stubs, or other relevant documents.

2. File a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH): You can file a complaint with the DFEH, which is the state agency responsible for enforcing the FEHA. They will investigate your claim and determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a lawsuit.

3. Consult with an employment attorney: An experienced employment attorney can help you assess the strength of your case, advise you on your legal options, and represent you in any legal proceedings.

4. Discuss the issue with your employer: If you feel comfortable doing so, you may want to raise your concerns with your employer or the human resources department. Explain that you believe you are being discriminated against based on your sexual orientation and provide any supporting evidence.

Remember that retaliation against an employee for reporting discrimination or participating in a discrimination investigation is also illegal under the FEHA. If you experience any adverse actions from your employer after raising your concerns or filing a complaint, you may have additional legal claims.

It is important to act promptly, as there are time limits for filing discrimination claims under the FEHA. Consulting with an attorney can help ensure that you meet all relevant deadlines and preserve your legal rights.

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