In a recent report issued by the Los Angeles Police Commission's Inspector General, the City revealed that it has paid out over a million dollars in lawsuits and settlements over the last six years. Of that total, more than $31 million was paid to settle or to otherwise close employment discrimination lawsuits brought by current or former officers.
California law protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. While not all states offer the same protections, many corporations have adopted their own non-discrimination policies that encompass these same topics.
Just before Nichole Hanchett was scheduled to have her day in court, she and her former employer were able to reach an agreement, settling her employment discrimination case against the San Fernando Police Department. Hanchett will receive $700,000 to resolve her lawsuit that alleged she was discriminated against because of her sexual orientation and retaliated against for talking about the corrupt practices of the department.
Police Officer Earl Wright of the Los Angeles Police Department was recently awarded $1.2 million by a California jury for the years of racial discrimination and harassment he endured on the force. The jury took less than four hours to side with Wright and find the City liable for damages related to the harassment and discrimination claims.
In his inauguration speech earlier this month, President Obama reflected the sentiment of many throughout the United States related to discrimination based on sexual orientation: It needs to be stopped. "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," the President noted.
UCLA's Williams Institute recently published a study on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees in the workplace. According to its findings, there is still much room for improvement to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. Gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination is consistently witnessed by both homosexual and heterosexual employees and without federal intervention and improved protections, the Institute doesn't believe conditions will improve.
Matthew Edmundson taught middle school science at Pegasus School in Huntington Beach until his work environment became so hostile that he was forced to quit. Edmondson had taught at Pegasus for a total of nine years. He left for Texas after four years only to return at the school's request to teach 8th grade science.
Ricardo Olguin began working as a deputy for the Merced County Sheriff's Office in 2008. He was terminated three years later, in 2011, after enduring sexual harassment based on his sexual orientation during that "hellish" time.