Employment / Legal Lex

LGBTQ Discrimination At Work

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Some time ago I asked you guys if you experienced discrimination in the workplace. Depending on where you are in the country (or world), there are various levels of protection that apply.  Since I am based in the U.S., I’ll cover some of the most popular states.  Of course, if you have a question about the laws where you live, shoot me a message and I’ll do my best to look it up.

Of course, these laws only apply to discrimination you experience from your employer, other coworkers, or people within the organization.  If a customer is harassing you, you may be protected by your employer’s own policies which you should have access to. Unfortunately, a customer’s rude or discriminatory comments usually count as free speech, unless they reach a level of harassment or putting you in fear for your safety.  At that point, other laws would come into play (think assault, battery, restraining orders, etc…a topic for another day!)

In California, employers can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation. Sexual orientation means heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.

In D.C., employers can’t discriminate based on your sexual orientation or what they believe your orientation is, unless there is a business necessity that isn’t intended to violate the discrimination laws. Employers also can’t use insulting language that shows bias based on sexual orientation. Employers must apply the same standards of acceptable on-the-job conduct, discipline and dismissal to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Georgia law does not protect against employee discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In New York, employers can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation.  Sexual orientation means actual or believed heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality.

Arizona and Texas do not currently have special protections against employee discrimination for sexual orientation.  Instead, they simply require recognition of same-sex marriage in the workplace.  Their laws state that employers should ensure employees and applicants in same-sex marriages are treated the same as those in opposite-sex marriages

Unfortunately, we have a patchwork of laws based on where you are.  Until the Supreme Court steps in and rules on a “sexual orientation discrimination at work” case, this is how it will remain.  Hopefully, as more people become comfortable with the LGBTQ community, states will pass their own protections based on pressure from their voters.

-Lex, Esq.

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3 thoughts on “LGBTQ Discrimination At Work

  1. Pingback: LGBTQ Discrimination At Work – All About Writing and more

  2. You forgot Rhode Island and Massachusetts – both state had marriage equality before the federal case, and both have full non-discrimination in employment, housing and credit.

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