No Federal Law Protects Gay Workers from Discrimination

Many strides have been made in recent years for the gay and lesbian community in the United States, with the military repealing its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, to some states legalizing gay marriage. Nevertheless, to this day, no federal law is in place to prevent employers from discriminating against homosexuals. Twenty one states have laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 29 states, workers can be fired or denied promotions simply because they are gay.

Policy protects federal government employees from sexual orientation discrimination. Proposed legislation to protect all workers from discrimination has been kicked around the federal government for years, but at the moment, it is still up to individual states. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in 1994, passed through the House of Representatives in 2007 but never made its way through the Senate.

“Employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace, and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” wrote four bipartisan Senators on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “While some states prohibit public and private employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, recent studies have found evidence of continued widespread employment discrimination against LGBT people.”

If you have been the victim of discrimination or harassment in the workplace, contact an employment attorney immediately.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment law attorneys