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Senate seeks to pass legislation to protect LGBT employees

When a resident in Minnesota accepts a job, they are often prepared for rules and regulations at their workplace that are set in place to ensure a safe, positive and productive work environment. Although employers should want all employees to feel comfortable at their job, workplace discrimination is still a serious issue that affects many of our nation's workers. Furthermore, employment discrimination seriously hinders the ability of some qualified individuals to obtain a position with an employer. This can happen in many contexts, including when employment decisions are made based on a person's sexual orientation.

It was recently reported that some are circulating a letter among the Senate in order to push the President to issue an executive order regarding workplace discrimination. Specifically, the executive order would extend workplace nondiscrimination to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

According to a Senator's office, the current effort is bicameral, and initiatives to recruit co-signers from the House for the LGBT equality caucus are ongoing. If President Obama signs the Executive Order, he will be able to prevent discrimination among government contractors, but if Congress passes legislation, the ban on discrimination could apply to all employers.

Although obstacles appear to have blocked this legislation for the time being, there are steps that can be taken regardless of whether or not the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes into law. Currently, it is legal in 33 states for an employer to terminate, retaliate or harass an employee for being LGBT, but Minnesota is not one of those states.

Protecting an individual in the workplace is important, and passing legislation to help keep those safeguards in place is essential, especially when it comes to discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those dealing with issues regarding employment discrimination should understand that they have potential resources and options. Seeking legal advice from a professional could help guide them through the process and help them determine whether they have a cause of action.

Source: Huffington Post, "Congress Steps Up Pressure On Obama To Sign ENDA Executive Order," Amanda Terkel, Mar. 6, 2014

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