As part of the LGBTQ community here in California, you may believe that you no longer face the discrimination, harassment and violence of the past. Perhaps you feel you bypassed that sort of environment due to all of the progress made in recent years.
Then, you started a new job. Everything may have been okay in the beginning, but as time went on, you began to notice a change in your co-workers, and perhaps even your supervisors and managers. You may have even experienced actual violence or the threat of it.
California's Ralph Civil Rights Act
The state of California prohibits certain behaviors and actions against certain individuals who ordinarily experience a significant amount of discrimination in the workplace. Members of the LGBTQ community fall under the protected statuses of gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation. This means that you receive certain protections under the Ralph Civil Rights Act from the following:
- Physical assault
- Attempted physical assault
- Written or spoken threats
- Hate-related graffiti
- Property damage
- Cross burning
- Bomb threats
More than likely, at work, you will experience the first few rather than the more violent last few. That does not mean that actual or attempted assault, threats and other hate mongering doesn't affect you. If you suffer from this type of behavior at work, you have the right to speak up. You do not have to suffer in silence. Before going any further, it is crucial to note that, if you feel your life is in danger, call the police right away and get to safety.
Otherwise, the first place to turn is to your employee handbook. If it has a procedure for making complaints regarding discrimination and harassment, which includes hate violence, then follow it as closely as possible. Make your complaint in writing, keep notes regarding conversations and document everything. Even though your company may have a policy that purports to deal with these situations, the people who are supposed to protect you fail miserably.
Where do you go next?
If you do not get the resolution you need from within the company, then you may absolutely go outside of it for answers and relief. The law protects you from hate violence. Before taking any further action, make arrangements to gain an understanding of your rights and legal options.