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If my boss made comments about thinking I was gay is that a form of discrimination or harassment?

Manchester, NH |

I'm a single straight male and have been for the five years I worked for my company I also own two small teacup dogs! My boss has made comments of thinking I'm gay and poking fun of the fact I live alone and own two small dogs! Is this a form of harassment or discrimination since I feel it had something to do with me losing my job or do I actually have to be gay to do something about it?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual because the individual's behavior does not conform with a gender stereotype. In other words, if your employer thought it was unmanly for you to live alone and to have two small teacup dogs, and if your employer took some adverse action as a result, then your employer has committed unlawful gender discrimination under Title VII. I'd encourage you to consult in person with an employment lawyer in your area. Good luck.

    My answers to questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information only, and are not intended to be legal advice. Employment law issues typically require a careful case-by-case analysis. Consequently, if you feel that you need legal advice, I would encourage you to consult in person with an employment attorney in your area.


  2. Both state and federal law protect employees from discrimination or harassment based upon sexual orientation or "perceived" sexual orientation.

    As my colleague notes, you will need an adverse employment action (i.e. Termination, Demotion) or more continuous severe or pervasive conduct before the conduct rises to a level that you may pursue legally.

    Consider a complaint to HR if it bothers you enough to risk potential retaliation from your supervisor.

    Please check the law of your state


  3. There are quite a few details that must be discussed with an attorney before your question can be answered. Normally EEOC complaints apply to companies with 15 or more employees. I suggest that you contact (check out Avvo) an employment law attorney in your locale who can meet with you in private and discuss all of the facts and then can give you sound legal advice. Good luck!

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