Sexual Preference

An airline union ensures protection

Sexual Orientation

Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have laws that ban discrimination in the workplace because of a person’s sexual orientation. Only eight of those states and the District of Columbia ban discrimination in the workplace because of a person’s gender identity. Because there is no federal law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, working people in 33 states are being denied employment on the basis of something that has no relationship to their ability to perform their work.

The states with laws that prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation are California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington also forbid gender identity discrimination.

Also, 131 cities have laws banning workplace discrimination because of sexual orientation. Fifty-seven of those cities extend protections to include gender identity.

Congress is considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would prohibit discrimination in hiring, firing, promotions, compensation and other employment practices because of a person’s sexual orientation. For more information about ENDA, see:

The work issues pages at the Human Rights Campaign site.
The non-discrimination law page at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force site.
The following site also can provide information about discrimination:
Federal Office of Personnel Management memo on the rights of federal employees regarding sexual orientation discrimination.

Prepared by the AFL-CIO, www.aflcio.org/