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Most small businesses support protection of LGBT employees

Laws protecting LGBT employees may not be as controversial as some Michigan residents believe. New research shows that more than two-thirds of small businesses believe that employment laws should protect gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination, and this could pave the way for new employment laws protecting Michigan employees. A national poll shows that these businesses believe that both federal and state law should protect LGBT employees from employment discrimination.

The Small Business Majority survey found over 60 percent of businesses believe that employers should not be able to refuse to hire or fire LGBT employees even if it does not conform with their religious beliefs. Sixty percent of small business owners further stated that they believe that protecting LGBT employees would ultimately improve their revenue because it would allow them to get the best possible employees regardless of their status.

Over 80 percent of small business owners were not aware that LGBT employees are not currently protected from workplace discrimination under federal law. On the state level, 21 states presently prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Only 16 states prohibit the discrimination based on gender identity. Almost 90% of Fortune 500 companies have their own non-discrimination policies in place that include sexual orientation. Over half of the Fortune 500 companies also had non-discrimination policies for gender identity.

LGBT employees currently have very limited protection against federal laws and are only protected in less than half of the states. This means that they may face problems when trying to make claims of workplace discrimination. An employment law attorney can help an LGBT employee determine whether they have protection in their state and for their particular situation. They can also help businesses find out whether they conform to their state laws.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Most small businesses back laws to protect LGBT workers, survey says", Adolfo Flores, June 05, 2013

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