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Advocates press Obama for more LGBT protections in the workplace

Two weeks ago, we wrote about how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Detroit office was looking for cases that it believed would help it shore up protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees in Michigan.

We recently noticed that protection for GLBT employees is making appearances in the national news, too. Gay-rights supporters are pushing for President Barack Obama to sign an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against gay workers.

Advocates have long pressed Obama to sign an executive order in the past and there was frustration among the gay community and gay allies that Obama withheld his support. Many felt that he was hedging his bets in light of the coming 2012 election.

Hope that Obama will sign the executive order was renewed on inauguration day, when Obama said in a speech that "our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."

As we said in a previous post, Michigan does not recognize sexual orientation or sexual identity as a protected class, meaning it is not illegal to discriminate against GLBT people the same way it is illegal to discriminate against people based on age, sex or race.

Even so, you should not assume that if you have encountered harassment or ill treatment at work because you are GLBT, you have no recourse. It probably would at least be worth it to speak with an attorney about the matter to be sure that you understand your situation fully.

Source: The Associated Press, "LGBT advocates seek ban on employee discrimination," Jan. 24, 2013

  • In our Oakland County law office, we focus on protecting the rights of employees. To learn more, you could visit our Employment Law page.

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