A new report reveals how far the United States has to go before achieving workplace equality for LGBT people.
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Lambda Legal released the report today.
Are LGBT Workers Protected from Discrimination? assesses the current state of federal and state-level protections for LGBT employees.
A little over half (52%) of all LGBT adults in the US live in states with some employment protections. 48%, however, live in places with no protections in the workplace whatsoever.
A patchwork of protection
As the report describes it, protections for LGBT employees in the US resembles a patchwork. Some states explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while other states vary.
The entire West Coast, for example — California, Oregon, and Washington — has legislation protecting workers on the criteria of both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Other states, like New York, interpret their prohibtion on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. There is no separate law for LGBT people.
Finally, there are two more categories of states. Wisconsin fits into one, which only protects sexual orientation, while a majority of the remaining states, like Texas, offer no workplace protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
An ongoing battled fueled by the President
‘While most people believe that federal law already protects against anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace, the law does not
explicitly refer to “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,”‘ the report states.
It also adds that existing protections are currently under attack.
Under the Obama administration, employees received protection from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The Trump administration, however, reversed those policies.
Now the fight for equal protection in the workplace is being fought in various courts around the country. The Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the matter.