Queer Rights Lawyers (QRL)

Queer Rights Lawyers (QRL)

If you’ve experienced discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, or have been otherwise mistreated because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, our LGBTQ+ lawyers are ready to fight for your justice and secure compensation.

We provide specialised advice to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Even if what you have faced has nothing to do with your sexual orientation or gender identity, you might still want to be represented by a firm committed to the belief that delivering justice requires affirming and celebrating your queerness.

A photo of laughing young people marching with happy facial expression at Christopher Street Day (CSD) parade.

Why QRL?

Our Track Record

Our firm has taken on hospitals and universities when their employees and professors, our clients, have been discriminated against on the basis of their sex – and won. We represented Chrissy Chambers in her landmark revenge porn case against her former partner – and won. We are passionate about fighting all forms of discrimination, and are now extending this fight to members of the LGBTQ+ community unapologetically.

Our Culture & Compassion

Our queer rights lawyers are here to listen and gently guide you. McAllister Olivarius isn’t a behemoth law firm who will treat your case as a form-filling exercise – we’re here for the journey. We have always been and will continue to always be on the side of the discriminated, disenfranchised, and vulnerable – and our lawyers will do whatever it takes to get you the justice you deserve.

We mean LGB(T)Q+

We are LGBTQ+ lawyers. That means we are transgender lawyers too. We believe trans rights are human rights, and we are prepared to fight against injustices faced by the community online, on campus, and at the workplace.

Our Focus

Employment Discrimination

It is unlawful for your employer to treat you less favourably on the basis of your gender identity or sexual orientation. Less favourable treatment includes being passed up on a promotion, being given fewer paid holidays, losing out on a bonus, or being dismissed, when others haven’t. If you believe your employer has treated you less favourably because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you might be able to bring a claim against them.

It is worth remembering that your employer can discriminate against you in less visible ways. If there’s a company policy that appears neutral, but seems to make your life as a queer person especially difficult in a way that those who aren’t don’t experience, your employer might be operating an indirectly discriminatory provision, criterion, or practice – and you might be able to bring a claim against them.

It is unlawful for your employer or your coworkers to create or entertain a work environment that makes you feel intimidated or offended. Examples of this include name-calling, physical bullying, dead-naming, and the sharing of pre-transition pictures of you, creating a humiliating place for you to work. If your employer fails to do all they can to try and prevent this from happening, or doesn’t take your complaint seriously, you might be able to bring a claim against them.

A photo featuring homosexual multiracial people from different generations at gay pride parade with banner and lgbt rainbow flags.

Higher Education Discrimination

It is unlawful for universities not to address discrimination and harassment faced by their students and staff and faculty. Studies have consistently shown that LGBTQ+ staff, faculty, and students are discriminated against, assaulted, and harassed at alarming rates, with few feeling safe enough to report their experiences.

  • For staff and faculty: a university cannot pass on tenure and promotions because of your gender identity or sexual orientation, or because of promotion criteria that make it especially difficult for you as a queer person to meet its requirements. You are also covered by your rights as an employee, and we help you bring claims in employment tribunals and in civil courts.
  • For students: your university is acting unlawfully if it fails to take a report of harassment seriously. LGBTQ+ students are some of the most likely to experience sexual misconduct and harassment at their time in higher education, and some of the least likely to report it. Under the Equality Act, universities owe a public sector equality duty requiring them to eliminate discrimination. This means they are also liable for discrimination by their staff. If your university’s complaint procedure, those who handle it, the way they have treated you as a complainant, or the policies imposed on you during or after the procedure have been ineffective or inadequate in handling you claim of sexual misconduct and harassment, this may be discriminatory on the basis of your sexual orientation or gender identity, and we can help.

Imaged Based Sexual Abuse

Unfortunately, cases of IBSA are all too common in the LGBTQ+ community. If you’ve had intimate pictures of you taken or saved and shared online without your consent, you may be able to bring a claim against your perpetrator. Non-consensual pornography and other forms of online abuse and coercion are illegal in the UK.Whatever your situation, our queer rights lawyers are here to help you as best we can. You are not alone, it’s not your fault, and you are not powerless. If you know who the perpetrator is, there are several steps we could take to help. We can help you create a timeline of events, file a takedown request to the platforms where the content is being shared or a cease-and-desist letter to the perpetrator. We can also file for a civil injunction, resulting in legal consequences for the perpetrator if they do not stop sharing your images. Depending on your circumstances, we could also help you in bringing a civil suit against your perpetrator and claim for damages for the suffering their actions have caused. Our queer rights lawyers understand how sensitive this can be for victims and are experienced in handling claims of image based sexual abuse. We will do whatever it takes to get you the justice you deserve.

We represented YouTube sensation Chrissy Chambers in a landmark UK revenge porn case against her former partner. Chambers was successful in obtaining a significant financial settlement and the rights to her own images.

FAQs

UK

Can an employer discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in the UK?

The Equality Act 2010 protects all LGBT staff from all forms of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, including offensive comments. The law applies whether or not the person facing discrimination is a member of the LGBT community (discrimination can occur because someone is thought to be LGBT). Those with non-binary gender identities are not explicitly protected under the laws of England and Wales, but non-binary employees who face discrimination or harassment due to perceived gender are protected.

Do the laws of England and Wales law protect Queer students from discrimination?

Under the Equality Act, universities in England and Wales are obliged to prevent the discrimination, harassment or victimization of students and are liable for the actions of their employees unless they can show that ‘all reasonable steps’ were taken to prevent this from taking place. While non-binary genders are not explicitly recognised under the laws of England and Wales, discriminating against someone for their non-binary characteristics may be in breach of one or more laws protecting against discrimination.

Am I allowed to take absence/ sick leave for gender reassignment?

The Equality Act states that you cannot be discriminated against because of your gender reassignment. If you need to take time off because of your reassignment, your employer is required not to treat you less favourably than they would if you took leave for some other sickness or injury. If your employer treats your absence less favourably than they have or might someone else’s due to sickness or injury, you may have a claim for discrimination.

I am transgender and being bullied at work/ university. What should I do?

Repeated bullying on the basis of your gender identity can amount to harassment. Report this to the relevant people as soon as you can. Your employer or university have a duty to treat your complaint seriously, and act accordingly. If they do not, or the harassment continues, you could bring a claim under the Equality Act.

I am transgender and company policies are making it difficult for me to affirm my gender. Is there anything I can do?

Policies at work that make it difficult for you to continue your transition or live as your preferred gender may be discriminatory, even if they do not directly discriminate against transgender people in writing. If a policy or practice at work has you at a particular disadvantage because of your gender identity, you could bring a claim under the Equality Act.

US

Can an employer discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in the US?

While federal laws do not explicitly prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation within the private sector, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay or transgender people from employment discrimination. There are also statutes protecting workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation in 22 states and the District of Columbia, while 21 states plus DC have statutes protecting against gender identity-based discrimination.

Does US law protect Queer students from discrimination?

While existing Title IX rules do not explicitly address this discrimination, new rules proposed by the Biden administration clarify that restricting access to education based on sexual orientation, gender identity (including transgender or nonbinary identity), and sex-related characteristics (including intersex characteristics) constitutes discrimination under Title IX. Federal courts have also held that restrictions placed on transgender students’ ability to access restrooms or participate in sports and athletics appropriate to their gender identity constitutes discrimination under Title IX.