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LGBT workplace discrimination is the next hurdle

California's recent reversal of gay marriage bans in light of the Supreme Court's striking down the Defense of Marriage Act has attention focused on the legal issues surrounding same-sex unions. However, this focus may have shifted attention away from another problems facing gays, lesbians and transgender people, such as workplace discrimination.

While having knowledge of particular LGBT issues may be an asset in the workplace, many employers tend to discourage openness about discussions of sexual preference and may even discriminate against those who identify as homosexual or transgender. According to recent surveys, LGBT individuals are more likely to feel stalled in their career paths and believe that they have fewer career development opportunities.

However, other statistics show that LGBT individuals account for $790 billion of annual buying power in the United States, making them a large market segment that employers cannot afford to ignore. LGBT individuals tend to be loyal to brands they perceive as friendly: 71 percent said that they will choose a product based on how the brand is perceived in relation to LGBT needs. In addition, 75 percent of heterosexuals and 84 percent of LGBT individuals said that it would affect their decision to buy a product if a company is perceived as treating its employees fairly in relation to their sexual preference.

Workplace discrimination is illegal under federal and state law. Employers cannot discriminate against a person based on his or her sexual preference, religion, race or other factors. A workplace discrimination attorney may represent a person who believes that he or she has been the victim of discrimination by an employer and may assist that person in recovering monetary damages and other legal remedies.

Source: Huffington Post, "DOMA Dead! Workplace Discrimination Next?", Sylvia Ann Hewlett, June 26, 2013

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