A company in Monmouth County, New Jersey is being investigated by the state’s division on civil rights after a comment was allegedly made to a lesbian employee about her “gaydar.”
The civil rights division announced a finding of probable cause against Metropolitan Healthcare Billing today (May 9) and found that its conduct was “sufficiently severe that a reasonable employee […] could find her work environment hostile or abusive,” according to New Jersey 101.5.
The employee—who has not been named—made a complaint against the company after a senior colleague allegedly said she could use her “gaydar” to figure out if a client was a lesbian.
The woman said the gaydar comment was ‘unprofessional’
The comment was reportedly made during a staff meeting in front of a new employee who was not aware of the woman’s sexual orientation.
She later complained to her supervisor and said the comment was “unprofessional” and made her feel “uncomfortable.”
The woman then claimed that her supervisor told her in person that she thought the comment was fine as the woman had made jokes in the workplace about her own sexuality and had used the word “gaydar.”
The New Jersey civil rights division found that the company’s conduct was “sufficiently severe that a reasonable employee […] could find her work environment hostile or abusive.”
She then reportedly went to human resources about the issue, however, she discovered that the director of the department was her supervisor’s sister. When she asked to speak to the owner of the company, she claimed she was fired.
The case is ongoing. Today’s ruling means that New Jersey has determined that there is enough evidence to support a discrimination case.
PinkNews has contacted the company for comment.
LGBT+ people can continue to face workplace discrimination in the United States
In its finding, it said that the “gaydar” comment outed the woman and “indicated to staff that the sexual orientation of a client would be a relevant and appropriate topic of inquiry and discussion in the workplace.”
While there has been significant progress in recent decades in LGBT+ rights in the United States, some members of the community can still face discrimination in the workplace.
Last month, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear three new cases about discrimination of LGBT+ people in the workplace. Two of the cases involve alleged anti-gay discrimination against men by their employers. The third concerns a transgender person.
The Supreme Court will then decide if employment discrimination laws should extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.