I am a 17 year old male employee working for a fast food restaurant. While at work a few weeks ago, a rumor of me being a homosexual was brought to my attention by a manager; the source was unknown. However, the same manager has come back to me and told me that the rumor was, in fact, started by the owner of the restaurant I work in. I have been informed, by several managers and coworkers, that the owner of the restaurant has said these things about me consistently and even told a co-worker of mine not to “end up like him because he’s gay”. The owner is very friendly and sociable around the store to everyone except myself and he sometimes refuses to even acknowledge me when I speak to him. He has even had an incident where he made trans-phobic comments about one of his trans-gender employees, eventually firing him. I am interested in taking legal action against this owner for the harassment and speculation surrounding my sexual orientation. Do I have the grounds to do so?
EEOC interprets and enforces Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
You would be doing yourself a big favor by meeting with an attorney face to face---BEFORE you actually get fired.
Another option for Florida residents:
If you feel you have been discriminated against by actions of your supervisors or co-workers at your workplace because of your race, age, gender (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation or national origin, religion or marital status or because you have a disability, or feel you have been retaliated against for speaking out or asserting your legal rights in the workplace, you should contact the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) here in Tallahassee. The FCHR's toll free telephone number is (800) 342 8170; or you can call them at (850) 488 7082. If you do call, ask to speak with an Intake Counsellor. You do not need a lawyer; but retaining one before you file a charge of discrimination will help get through the bureaucracy.
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