In recognition of LGBTQ+ Pride month, Vaage Law wants to share some of our experiences and insights in representing plaintiffs from the community.
We represented a lesbian postal worker in a medical malpractice lawsuit for the healthcare provider’s failure to inform her of an ovarian mass that was incidentally discovered on a radiology image in the emergency room. This ultimately led to a significant delay (approximately one year) in diagnosis of her ovarian cancer. During trial and the impaneling of the jury, also referred to as “voir dire,” we had to identify biases against her because of her orientation.
You would think that shouldn’t matter, especially in a medical malpractice case. You would be surprised. We asked if jurors leaned, even slightly, towards the belief that if someone is homosexual, they do not have the same rights as straight/heterosexual people, or that their lifestyle is a sin against God. If so, we asked that they be removed from the jury for cause. The question itself is uncomfortable, but an experienced trial attorney is not afraid to ask difficult questions if it results in a fair trial. Ultimately, the case settled before the first witness testified. Sadly, our client passed away, but not before she was able to travel around the world and do the things she always wanted to do.
We also represented a lesbian firefighter for workplace discrimination and harassment. After six years of enduring name-calling, hazing, remarks about female body parts, unwelcomed touching, discriminatory practices, pornography, obscene language, exclusion, taunting, and insults about her size, her sexual orientation, and her abilities as a firefighter, she finally emotionally broke down. Her employer responded to her complaints about sexual harassment and discrimination by retiring her on a minor wrist injury.
The case finally settled, but not before we uncovered a pattern of harassment that also resulted in the termination of the Fire Chief. We hope our efforts paved the way for a better work environment for women firefighters, regardless of their orientation.
Combating LGBTQ+ Discrimination
At Vaage Law, we believe that justice should be available to all regardless of orientation, sexual preference, gender identity, or any other distinguishing factor. We do our best to ensure our clients’ rights are fully protected under the law and that instances of discrimination are exposed. If you or a loved one have had your rights violated in any way, reach out to us at (619) 338-0505 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our goal is to return our clients’ lives as closely as possible to what it was, and we work tirelessly to achieve that goal.