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Small-business owners value workplace discrimination laws

California employees and business owners may take note of a survey on discrimination conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. A large majority of small-business owners indicated in the poll that laws prohibiting gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination would serve owners by saving them money. No federal law exists to prohibit these types of workplace discrimination, yet a number of states and large, private employers have implemented non-discrimination policies.

Employment discrimination against gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender people should be against the law, according to about two-thirds of polled owners. Surprisingly, an even larger number of those polled believed that some protection already existed in federal law. The CEO of Small Business Majority issued a statement that coincided with about 60 percent of small-business owners claiming that anti-discrimination laws improve revenue and aid in attraction of more talented employees.

Many large companies appear to have seen the benefits in prohibiting employment discrimination. By April 2013, approximately 57 percent of Fortune 500 companies had internal policies prohibiting both gender identity sexual orientation discrimination. A total of 88 percent had some policy in place regarding orientation. The Human Rights Campaign has documented protective laws for employees of any sexual orientation in 21 states and Washington D.C. Employees of any gender identity are protected in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Workers may be subject to a number of discriminatory policies on the basis of religious beliefs held by an employer or a company's managers. Such actions are widely believed to affect the employer's bottom line, and they also have a disparate impact on the earning potential of individuals. For individuals who believe they have been subject to discrimination or harassment for any reason, an attorney with experience in employment law may be able to provide assistance.

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

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