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Gay Rights Facts: Rights in the Workplace

By Minara El-Rahman on February 01, 2010 9:48 AM

The gay rights movement seems laser focused on gay marriage, but what about gay rights in the workplace? NPR recently reported on the gay rights movement in the workplace with an interesting timeline. It brings about the question:

What Are Your Rights Against Workplace Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation?

There is currently no federal law that protects against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation in the private sector, but federal government workers are protected from being discriminated against. There is hope for federal protection of gay rights in the workplace. The ACLU wrote about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which offers Congress the opportunity to ensure workplace equality by protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is currently pending in the House of Representatives

However, there is more protection of gay rights in workplace on the state level. Some states with laws against such discrimination in the public and private sector are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Some states with protection against sexual orientation discrimination for public workplaces are: Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, and Pennsylvania.

The District of Columbia also has a law that prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in both public and private jobs.

Recently, New York passed a law that granted equal workplace rights to transgender state workers. We wrote about this in our Law and Daily Life blog. Currently, about 13 states and the District of Columbia have broad laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender expression or identity. These states are: California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Vermont, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine and Hawaii.

For more information about gay rights, the gay rights movement, and LGBT discrimination in the workplace, please visit our Related Resources.

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