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The fight against workplace sexual orientation discrimination

The Supreme Court's recent decision in support of same-sex marriage has inspired lesbians and gays to increase their rights at work. In over half the states in the United States, it is possible to terminate an employee based on his or her sexual preference. However, sexual orientation discrimination persists even in states like California, which have laws prohibiting such behavior at the workplace.

One activist, who leads the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, cites an irony stemming from the recent Supreme Court decision. He says that many homosexual couples will have a better chance of getting married, but this could lead to problems at work. For example, he mentions that putting photos from their marriage on display in their office at work could cause them to lose their jobs in many states.

Lawmakers in the senate are currently debating a bill that could provide more protections to prevent sexual orientation discrimination at the workplace on a federal level. This could benefit homosexuals across the nation by ensuring that they are not the victims of discrimination, so that they do not have to live in constant fear of losing their jobs. The leader of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said that a lot of the problems surrounding sexual orientation discrimination are generational. Namely, younger workers are entering the workforce expecting certain civil rights that simply do not exist in many states.

Fortunately, California residents are protected by the law and workplace sexual orientation discrimination is an actionable offense. Californians who lose their job because they are gay, lesbian or bisexual can file a lawsuit. In the best of cases, victims of sexual orientation discrimination can receive compensation for lost income and other damages stemming from the discrimination or have their employment reinstated.

Source: Source: wbur.org, "Gays And Lesbians Turn Fight To Workplace Discrimination Ban," Jennifer Ludden, July 9, 2013

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