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LGBT employment discrimination is prohibited by 1964 Civil Right Act

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a statement Thursday clarifying that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal.

From the statement, the EEOC has reached the decision that “[A]llegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex” barred by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“The EEOC’s ruling put a federal stamp of approval on a long-held corporate best practice of including sexual orientation and gender expression in non-discrimination policies…”  Justin Nelson, President, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to this finding there were 31 states where one could be fired without cause for being LGBT, and LGBT business advocates were pushing for the passage of a Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) that did not contain verbiage that could allow privately owned companies to fire employees based on their religious beliefs. Advocates feared the verbiage would allow a similar SCOTUS decision for Hobby Lobby. Under Burrwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Affordable Care Act required employers to cover certain contraceptives to female employees.

“The EEOC’s ruling put a federal stamp of approval on a long-held corporate best practice of including sexual orientation and gender expression in non-discrimination policies. By allowing workers to feel protected in the workplace, they are empowered to bring their best selves to the workplace, which increases productivity, raises performance levels, and retains top LGBT talent,” says NGLCC co-founder and president, Justin Nelson. “We hope to see state and local governments apply the same principles of inclusion to their workplace protection codes, resulting in a national Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would ensure the well-being of America’s diverse and innovative workforce.”

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