Monday, June 11, 2018

LGBT nondiscrimination laws in U.S. states

Updated June 11, 2018
These 19 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 Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington. So does the federal district, Washington, D.C.

These two states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations: 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 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 U.S. 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 is now banned in Indiana.

On Feb. 26, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York ruled 10-3 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 2nd Circuit covers Connecticut, New York and Vermont, states that themselves already ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation, so the ruling did not add any states to this list, but it did add to the jurisprudence that is likely to see review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the arena of federal appeals courts and gender-identity employment protections, there are 12 states in the 1st, 6th, 9th and 11th federal circuits that have statewide gender-identity job protections as a result of federal appeals court rulings that the 1964 Civil Rights Act's ban on employment discrimination based on sex is also a ban on employment discrimination based on gender identity. The states that have these protections via the courts but not in their own state laws are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio and Tennessee. The 9th Circuit ruling also added the territory Northern Mariana Islands to the list of places with job protections based on gender identity.

In states with no sexual-orientation or gender-identity protections in employment, housing or public accommodations, it is common to find protections at the municipal level 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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