Resources for LGBTQ Iowans seeking legal help
These resources can help you navigate the legal barriers that face LGBTQ members and families. Find local and national support for topics such as foster parenting, adoption, and LGBTQ parenting.
One Iowa proudly provides a list of resources for LGBTQ Iowans and allies. Inclusion on our website does not warrant or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or outcome. You must fully vet each resource.
If you are seeking an LGBTQ-inclusive lawyer, please email One Iowa Program Coordinator Max Mowitz.
Steps LGBTQ+ Workers Can Take if they are Experiencing Discrimination in the Workplace
According to a groundbreaking study discrimination is a problem faced by a huge number of LGBTQ+ workers. 49% of LGBTQ+ workers report experiencing discrimination at work. People of color who are LGBTQ+ reported the highest numbers of discrimination. However, if you’re LGBTQ+ you have the same rights at work as other workers. The Supreme Court has decided that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ+ workers just the same way it protects other workers from discrimination and harassment at work.
If you’ve a victim of discrimination at work you have the right to file a complaint with the EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC is a federal agency and operates throughout the country. The EEOC also works with 44 states to prevent discrimination by forwarding copies of complaints files in those states to the state authorities. The state will then investigate whether or not any state laws have been broken by the employer.
Examples Of Workplace Discrimination
Discrimination against LGBTQ+ at work takes many forms including:
Targeted Bullying or Harassment
The most common type of discrimination that LGBQ+ people face is bullying and harassment. Your boss and coworkers cannot harass you by using slurs, call you names, ask offensive questions, single you out for “jokes” or offensive stereotypes, exclude you, or gossip about you. If you find that you’re being bullied and harassed you should make sure to get as much evidence of the bullying as you can to support your claim of discrimination.
Being Excluded From Company Events
LGBTQ+ workers may find that they aren’t told about or invited to company lunches, picnics, outings, and other events. This is especially common when employees are invited to bring families or spouses to events. That’s discrimination and it’s illegal.
Not Getting Paid The Same As Others
If your coworkers are making more money than you even though you all do the same job that’s discrimination. If your coworkers are receiving raises and you’re not that’s discrimination too.
Filing A Workplace Discrimination Claim
Sometimes your employer may not be aware that you’re experiencing discrimination. You will want to write a LGBTQ+ discrimination complaint letter to your employer. To make sure that the company knows you should schedule a meeting with your boss or your HR rep if your boss is part of the problem. Take all the evidence of discrimination that you have and explain that you’re being victimized and it must stop. If the HR rep or your boss doesn’t believe you or seems to downplay the discrimination and not want to help then go to the EEOC’s website and file a complaint or call your state EEOC office and make a complaint. You also have the option of filing on the state level as well. In Iowa, you can do so with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. When you file your claim on the state level, it will be dual-filed with the EEOC and vice versa, so you don’t have to send the same application twice.
Remedies For Harassment And Discrimination
Employers that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people could have to pay those employees lump sums of money for back wages or raises that they should have received. They also may receive money for pain and suffering if they were bullied or harassed at work. Additionally those employers could have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Sources Found Via:
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has compiled a series of questions to ask yourself before you start the adoption process.
HRC’s overview of adoption options.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) created a brief overview about fostering and what foster parents can expect from the process.
To become a foster parent in the state of Iowa, you must go through the Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA). On the IFAPA site, you can find the necessary DHS forms as well as a foster parent handbook to start the process of becoming a foster parent.
FamilyEquality.org offers extensive resources to LGBT parents including:
- Starting parent groups
- Event planning for parent groups
- Talking to children about families
- LGBT Family-friendly children’s books