Furniture Chain Sued By Woman Claiming Lesbian Discrimination

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A woman named Isabel Perez sued one of America’s largest furniture retailer, Ashley Furniture located in Secaucus, New Jersey, over a claim that she was fired because she was a lesbian, according to a report by Huffington Post. Perez claimed that she was asked about her religious views and marital status during the interview process. During the interview, one of the directors forced Perez to pray with her about her sexual preference.

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About the case
Perez was a lesbian and was married to another woman. She said she was subjected to derogatory language during her employment, including the terms “lesbo” and “fag.” She also heard bosses and co-workers use racially-charged language. Perez claimed that she was fired after a director, the one who prayed with her, spotted a bumper sticker on her car that supported a Human Rights Campaign. The Secaucus, New Jersey Ashley Furniture store has a history of supporting conservative and religious movements that define traditional marriage as the proper choice.

Can a worker sue for discrimination in California?
Under federal law and state law in California, employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers for gender, which has been held to include sexual identification. Employers are also barred from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religious views or other arbitrary factors. This means that an employer cannot make hiring, firing or promotion choices based on arbitrary standards or show favor to one group over another. Furthermore, employees are not to be subjected to rude or upsetting language about these identifying factors while at work, as this creates a climate of fear and distrust in the workplace. If a worker can show that they have experienced discrimination, the employee may be entitled to collect damages from the employer. The damages may include: lost wages or lost salary increases, punitive damages and other forms of compensation.

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How do I prove discrimination?
The difficult aspect of an employment discrimination case is often proving that the employee was treated unfairly due to arbitrary standards.  For example, an employer may state that an employee was fired not because of sexual preference but because their performance on the job did not meet company standards. Unless the victim has some type of proof that discrimination took place, it is difficult to make a case.

However, the benefit of the doubt often goes to the employee in such situations. Arbitrators and judges know that employers are not likely to admit discrimination, so they often look for a pattern of such behavior to establish the truth. If several people have been fired over arbitrary matters, this may support the victim’s case. This is true even if the employer denies that the employees are fired for those reasons. It is also possible that the victim is not the only one suffering discrimination. If more than one employee can be found who is willing to talk about their experiences with the company, it is likely that the victim will have a good chance of proving discrimination. A personal injury attorney who practices employment discrimination can help employees recover damages in these cases.

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