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On April 8th, President Obama’s Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination went into effect. The order prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Previously, contractors were prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, and veteran status only.

In a statement on April 8th, the U.S. Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator said, “Citizens expect contracting professionals to provide these services on a superior scale while serving as responsible business models with respect to 21st century workplace equality.” The new requirement considerably expands protections for LGBT workers, as federal contractors collectively employ about one-fifth of the U.S.’s workforce.

Discrimination against LGBT workers remains a huge problem

Although the Executive Order on LGBT Workplace Discrimination greatly expands protections for LGBT workers, it does not bar discrimination in private sector companies. Though some states have laws that prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees, others do not, claiming that they are upholding religious freedom.

Surveys have found that over one in four LGBT workers have experienced discriminatory treatment in their workplace in the past five years. This is harmful for both the employee and the company, as it destroys morale and workplace cohesion.

The New York State Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act prohibits Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Fortunately, New York State and City laws prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) is a state law that says that employers cannot discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation, whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual. The protections hold regardless of whether the sexual orientation of an employee is actual or perceived.

The New York City Human Rights Law bans Gender Identity Discrimination

New York City Human Rights Law provides additional protections for workers, barring employers from discriminating on the basis of employees’ actual or perceived gender.

Contact an experienced New York City lawyer for help

At the Akin Law Group, we believe that everybody has the right to work in an environment free of harassment, intimidation, and discrimination. Our lawyers are highly experienced in matters of employment law, and are ready to discuss your case with you. Contact the Akin Law Group at 866.685.5163 to schedule a free consultation.

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