Employment laws in the U.S. change more often than other areas of law. Courts and lawmakers are frequently reviewing, changing and expanding laws in an effort to adapt to and reflect modern workplaces and attitudes.
That being said, many people argue that these efforts still move too slowly or not at all. For instance, recently, 76 companies joined in on efforts urging the U.S. Supreme Court to make a ruling on discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Currently, the federal law does not protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does consider sexual orientation discrimination to be a form of sex discrimination.
There are states that protect employees from sexual orientation discrimination on a state level, but Texas is not one of them.
In other words, there are varying interpretations of discrimination laws and generally speaking, LGBT Texans are not protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation in many environments.
In light of all this, some of the largest and most visible companies in the U.S. are urging the Supreme Court to make a ruling on the matter so that there is uniform acceptance and compliance with guidelines that consider discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.
The companies in support of the petition include Apple, CBS, Starbucks Coffee and American Airlines, as well as at least two professional sports teams.
Until and unless the Supreme Court hears the case, there is plenty of room for confusion and debate on this issue. Under these circumstances, employees and employers facing off in claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation may need to resolve the matter in court or through mediation or arbitration.
Employee discrimination issues are rarely clear-cut. Thankfully, you don't have to figure out your options or stand up to an employer alone. If you are an employee who feels as though you have been discriminated against because of any reason, including your sexual orientation, then discussing your options and legal protections with an attorney can be wise.