Pride Month: Fighting Discrimination In The Minnesota Workplace

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Employment Law

June is Pride Month, and we know there are still major issues that members of the LGBTQ face. This Pride Month, we celebrate the accomplishments that have been made for the LGBTQ community, but we still have a long way to go.

Wins for the LGBTQ community in the workplace were once small and rare. Members of the LGBTQ community who fought for rights, protection, and recognition were fighting for those rights in a country where they were pressured to resign or were fired from their federal government jobs. Hundreds of workers lost their jobs and the rule remained in place for twenty years.

At Villaume & Schiek, we take pride in being advocates for clients who have not been treated fairly in the workplace. As an ally to the LGBTQ community, we will continue to be dedicated to providing the best representation to help our clients when they have been impacted by wrongful conduct by a business or organization.

We have helped many clients fight discrimination in the workplace. It does not matter if you have been treated unjustly for your gender identity or your sexual orientation, you can find advocates in us. Many clients are hesitant to seek legal assistance because they are not sure if the conduct exhibited by employers or employees in the workplace constitutes discrimination.

The Civil Rights Act

Under the Civil Rights Act, it is illegal for employers to refuse to hire, fire, or discriminate against an individual with respect to employment privileges, compensation, terms because of one’s color, race, gender, religion, or national origin.

Sexual orientation or gender identity are not listed, but many courts have determined that the disallowing of sex discrimination can include protections for members of the LGBTQ community. The rights you have in regard to employment can heavily depend on where your place of employment is/was.

Types of Discrimination

For a decade, it is been against the law to discriminate against a job candidate, a trainee, or an employee based on his/her sexual orientation. If someone has been denied a promotion because he or she is gay or trans is against the law. Discrimination can be defined into multiple types, including the following:


Harassment occurs when someone is being treated in a manner that is insulting, frightening, or humiliating because he or she is gay or trans.


This type of discrimination takes place when an employee suffers loss or harm. If a gay or trans employee was not given a raise or promotion that is deserving because of sexual orientation, the employee can pursue a case against the employer.

Direct and Indirect Discrimination

Direct discrimination happens when someone is continuously treated unfairly because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or sexual preference. It does not matter if their orientation or preference has been proven or if it has been perceived by others in the workplace, this type of treatment is known as direct discrimination.

Indirect discrimination happens when a policy has been created that was designed to apply to everyone but finds a way to discriminate against a gay or trans employee. For instance, an employee in a same-sex relationship or marriage not being given maternity leave.

What Is Considered Harassment?

Jokes, verbal abuse, and physical abuse can all constitute harassment when the actions are based on someone’s sexual orientation. Written content can also constitute harassment, and these can include posts on social media, videos, pictures, etc. If an employee makes an employer aware of harassment that is taking place in the workplace, the complaints should be taken seriously. If an employee makes a complaint, the employer has a duty to respond and begin an investigation.

Responsibilities of the Employer

An employer should have workplace policies that will prevent any type of discrimination in the workplace. The policy should not just apply to the current working environment, but it should apply to interviews, recruitment, training, promotion, discipline, and more. As soon as an employee walks into the workplace, the employee should feel comfortable and unafraid.

The employer has a responsibility to ensure the workplace will not tolerate any type of discrimination, regardless of anyone’s sexual orientation, including employees, visitors, suppliers, vendors, etc.

The LGBTQ community has been fighting against workplace discrimination for decades, and the fight continues. It is the responsibility of the employer and other employees to ensure the workplace is not toxic. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally.

While things are not the same as they were 40 or 50 years ago, there are still things that need to be improved. While many employees feel comfortable in their workplaces, there are others who still feel intimidating based on the actions taking place in the workplace.

No one deserves to be treated unfairly and no one deserves to feel unwelcome in a place they work. Our ears are always open to hearing the stories of our clients because we want to share our advice and provide them with guidance. Our team understands that an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity, whether perceived or self-identified, can have an impact on multiple aspects in the workplace.

It does not matter if the team at Villaume & Schiek is negotiating a severance package, employment contract, discrimination claim, or sharing advice, we are aware of the various experiences that one can face in the workplace. We are dedicated to fighting any form of workplace discrimination or harassment against LGBTQ employees.

While the laws that have been created may make it a little easier for some LGBTQ workers to stand up and challenge discrimination and harassment, it is up to everyone to ensure everyone feels valued in the workplace, regardless of sexual orientation, sexual preference, or gender identity.

If you faced discrimination in the workplace and you have questions about your rights, please do not hesitate to contact Villaume & Schiek today at 952-641-7734 to arrange a consultation. Our team will assess all aspects of your situation and your potential case, and we will advocate fervently to ensure your rights are protected.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individualsituation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.