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Discrimination against LGBT workers prohibited by executive order

Since the 1990s, discrimination against federal employees based on their sexual orientation has been prohibited. However, up until recently, the protections didn't extend to federal workers who identify as transgender. As we discussed in our previous post -- "President may issue executive order on workplace harassment" -- President Obama decided to take matters into his own hands and broaden protections for LGBT workers.

An executive order signed by the president on July 21 bans discrimination against LGBT federal employees and contractors. Some groups had pushed for the inclusion of a religion-based exemption, but the president's order only keeps in place a previous order signed in 2002 by President George W. Bush. That order already allows religious groups to make hiring decisions based on the applicant's religious beliefs.

The signing ceremony was attended by lawmakers, gay rights activists and religious leaders in favor of the order. As President Obama spoke after the signing, members of the crowd reportedly shouted, "Amen!"

The president's action is a step in the right direction in the fight against workplace discrimination and harassment, but more needs to be done. Gender and sex discrimination still occurs in New York and throughout the United States, despite clear protections offered by state and federal laws.

Often workers aren't fully aware of their rights and endure workplace discrimination for too long. If your employer or fellow employees are hostile to you because of your gender or sexual orientation, then you have a right to stop the hostility. An employment law attorney can clarify your options for ending workplace discrimination.

Source: USA Today, "Obama signs executive order banning LGBT discrimination," Gregory Korte, July 21, 2014

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