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Not All Pennsylvania Employees Are Protected Against Sexual Orientation or Gender Identification Discrimination

November 1st, 2012

Federal laws do not prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity; therefore, the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community must rely on state and local governments to enact laws for their protection against bias at the place of employment. Unlike our neighboring states of New Jersey and Delaware, Pennsylvania however does not have a statewide ban on sexual orientation or gender identification discrimination in the workplace. In fact, according to a recent article in the Pittsburgh Gazette, Pennsylvania is the only state in the mid-Atlantic region that does not have a law to protect against gender identity or sexual orientation discrimination for its gay, lesbian, and transgender employees.

Furthermore, even though many local governments have imposed their own local ordinances to prohibit such employment discrimination, in 70% of the state, employers can discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the workplace without legal consequence. The citizens of Pennsylvania have lobbied the state to pass a bill making it illegal to discriminate against people based on gender identification or sexual orientation for over 10 years.  According to the Pittsburgh Gazette, the majority of Pennsylvanians are in support of legislation to protect against discrimination of gay, lesbian, and transgender people in the workplace, yet the state continues to sit on the bill that would provide that protection.  The cities of Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania have municipal laws and ordinances that have been in place spanning two decades.

Employers who treat an employee unfairly because of their age, race, religion, national origin, or sex violate federal civil rights laws and face stiff penalties as a result, yet an employer who treats a gay, lesbian, or transgender employee unfairly faces no such consequence.  Sexual orientation discrimination is based on the employer’s perception that the employee is gay, lesbian, or bisexual, even if the employee is in fact heterosexual.  Gender identification discrimination occurs when an employer fails to treat an individual impartially because they have knowledge of or believe that the employee is choosing to live outside of their gender assigned at birth.

These types of discriminations in the workplace can be manifested in many ways.  An employer who thinks that an employee is a homosexual may overlook the individual in the promotion process.  A discriminating employer may also fail to fairly compensate an employee who chooses to change their gender identity.  Employers have also been known to unfairly terminate an employee because of their sexual preference or gender identity.  Without federal or state laws in effect to protect against this type of discrimination, Pennsylvania employees can only hope that the local laws and ordinances offer some kind of protection.

The Philadelphia Employment Discrimination Lawyers of Sidney L. Gold & Associates Advocate for Victims of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in New Jersey & Pennsylvania

The skilled and experienced Philadelphia work discrimination attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates are dedicated to aggressively representing their clients who have been discriminated against because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identification.  With a keen understanding of the ever-evolving laws against sexual and gender bias in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, our sexual orientation discrimination attorneys can help victims navigate through the myriad of federal, state, and municipal laws that can lead to justice and compensation.

If you believe you have experienced workplace discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, contact the employment discrimination law firm of Sidney L. Gold & Associates in Philadelphia.  Our discrimination attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals.  Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to set up an appointment to learn more about how we can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.

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