Friday, January 26, 2018

LGBT nondiscrimination laws in U.S. states

Updated Jan. 26, 2018
These 18 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington. So does the federal district, Washington, D.C.

These three states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin.

(The New York State Division of Human Rights promulgated regulations that took effect Jan. 20, 2016, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, transgender status or gender dysphoria in employment, housing and public accommodations. Courts have not yet ruled on whether the department was correct in determining that existing protections based on sex automatically prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.)

Utah prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and housing but not in public accommodations.

Guam and Puerto Rico (U.S. territories) prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.

On April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago ruled 8-3 that the 1964 Civil Rights Act's ban on employment discrimination based on sex is also a ban on employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The 7th Circuit covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, so employment discrimination based on sexual orientation now is banned in Indiana also. The ruling had immediate effect and the defendant, a college in Indiana, opted not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are active cases around this issue in the 2nd Circuit (at the en banc stage), 4th Circuit (on appeal from federal district court), and 8th Circuit (on appeal from federal district court), as well as resolved cases at the 11th Circuit (a loss for LGB protections) and the 1st Circuit (a partial win for LGB protections).

Twenty-six states and three territories have no statewide/territorywide LGBT protections. But in many of those 26 states, there are protections in large cities and university towns. Local nondiscrimination ordinances, however, sometimes do not have the teeth of state or federal laws.
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