The issue of lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender rights has been in the spotlight as of late, not least of all due to the highly anticipated decisions on the issue that were released by the Supreme Court recently. Those decisions, known colloquially as the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions, bolstered LGBT rights advocates and were widely seen as a victory for the movement. While the Prop 8 decision was decided on standing grounds, it left in place a federal appeals court decision that prevented California from enforcing a Constitutional amendment barring same-sex couples from marriage. DOMA was decided on substantive grounds, and the decision struck down a federal provision defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman on equal protection principles.
A Shift in Public Opinion
These decisions may reflect an acknowledgement by the Court that there has been a fundamental shift in public opinion regarding LGBT rights. The federal law that governs discrimination in the workplace is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Notably absent from this list is sexual orientation, and this has long been an issue for LGBT rights activists. Several states, including Oregon, have expanded state law to cover sexual orientation as a protected class. According to a poll conducted by HuffPost/YouGov, a majority of Americans now support an expansion of the law to prohibit workplace discrimination against members of the LGBT community. The poll indicated that 52 percent of respondents favored such a law, while 35 percent opposed it. Democrats support such a change at a rate of (63 percent), while Republicans tended to oppose the idea (47 percent).
Oregon’s Anti-Discrimination Law
As mentioned above, states may expand legal protection against discrimination to protect people not protected by federal anti-discrimination law. Under Oregon law, it is unlawful to for an employer to discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation. In addition, the state has also prohibited discrimination in real estate transactions and public accommodation due to discrimination based on sexual orientation, also not prohibited under federal law.
Contact an Employment Law Attorney
Discrimination in the workplace is a pervasive problem that can significantly affect a person’s quality of life and can also have significant economic repercussions. As a result, it is important for anyone who has been discriminated against in the workplace to consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible. A discrimination attorney will be able to help you determine whether you have a claim, and if you do, will help you hold your employer liable through an employment discrimination lawsuit. Contact one of our employment law attorneys today for a consultation.