New York attorney general tackles suspected NFL discrimination

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the issue of homophobia in professional sports. However, it is not just the athletes themselves who are accused of having unfriendly attitudes toward gay players. After the most recent NFL scouting combine, some league prospects said that team officials asked them intrusive questions about their sexual orientation.

Following those reports, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into the NFL to determine whether the league violated New York employment law by asking prospects about their sexual orientation during the recruiting process. The NFL is headquartered in New York City, putting its employment practices under Schneiderman's jurisdiction.

At the same time, Schneiderman warned the league that discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation is illegal under New York state law. In addition, at least 20 of the NFL's 32 teams are located in states that have similar anti-discrimination laws.

The NFL is also launching its own investigation into the questions that teams ask during the recruiting process. A league spokesman said that the NFL's policy is that teams should not ask about sexual orientation or consider it during recruiting. However, while the NFL's collective bargaining agreement provides anti-discrimination protection for players under contract, it does not provide similar safeguards for potential players being considered by the league.

New York sexual orientation discrimination

New York law provides strong protection against discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. Under the New York Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, employers are prohibited from making any employment-related decisions on the basis of an employee's or applicant's sexual orientation. As part of this law, employers are not supposed to ask about sexual orientation during the interview process.

SONDA does have some notable exceptions. For example, religious organizations are allowed to give preference to members of their same faith and are allowed to take actions that "promote the religious principles for which [the organization] is established or maintained."

New Yorkers who believe that they have been subject to adverse employment decisions because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation may have legal recourse to take action against their employer. Discrimination victims may be able to recover financial compensation for damages including lost wages, lost benefits and pain and suffering. In addition, the employer may be required to take certain affirmative steps such as reinstating a terminated employee or changing its policies to better protect against discrimination.

Unfortunately, discrimination can be hard to prove. For that reason, it is important to talk with an experienced employment law attorney if you have been the victim of discrimination based on sexual orientation or any other protected status. The attorney will work with you to gather the evidence needed to prove your case.