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Sexual Orientation

Only 21 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 29 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, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State and Wisconsin. Thirteen of the 21 states also forbid gender identity discrimination. Several cities have laws banning workplace discrimination because of sexual orientation.

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 or gender identity by employers with 15 or more employees. For more information about ENDA or sexual orientation discrimination, see:

       Pride At Work, AFL-CIO.

       ENDA, information from the Human Rights Campaign.

       ENDA, information from the American Civil Liberties Union.

       Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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