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DC sexual orientation based workplace discrimination still exists

Although lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals now have the right to marry their cause has redirected its focus on another important issue LGBT individuals face: workplace discrimination. In fact, at least as of right now, there is not a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination against workers based on that worker's sexual orientation.

Numerous studies have shown that LGBT individuals are subjected to more harassment and discrimination in the workplace due to their sexual orientation. For example, they may be denied health benefits, they may be refused a job or they may find their property has been vandalized, all based on their sexual orientation.

All this being said, the District of Columbia along with 21 other states have taken action to prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on a person's sexual orientation. In addition, an executive order has been issued by President Obama to protect federal employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Furthermore, many workplaces have taken it upon themselves to address the issue of sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace by implementing non-discrimination policies. One study found that of the Fortune 500 companies studied, 89 percent had such a policy in place.

Nonetheless, without a federal law on the issue, workers in other states and certain workers in the private sectors, local government employees and small businesses may still face workplace discrimination, each day based on their sexual orientation. As this shows, while many strides have been taken to provide LGBT individuals with equality, there is still work to be done. Those who feel they have been the victim of workplace discrimination based on their sexual orientation may need to seek legal help to achieve equality.

Source: The Washington Post, "This is the next front in the battle for gay rights," Lydia DePillis, June 26, 2015

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