While California has passed laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, a study released on Oct. 27 by the Movement Advancement Project reveals that LGBT workers in more than half of the nation’s cities, states and counties are not as fortunate. MAP is an independent think tank that conducts research into LGBT issues. The laws researched for the report protect LGBT employees and prevent them from being fired due to their sexual orientation.

The think tank discovered that municipalities with workplace discrimination ordinances in place to protect LGBT workers were concentrated in the Western, Midwestern and Northern areas of the country. The highest number of such protections were found along the West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington. The study also found that urban workers were about 50 times more likely to enjoy these protections than those employed in rural areas.

While a MAP representative praised the efforts of state and local lawmakers, she said that the results of the study highlight the need for the federal government to take action in this area. She pointed out that vast areas of the country had no protections in place for LGBT workers, and she added that the majority of Americans support such legislation. A bill is currently making its way through Congress that would apply the protections provided by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to LGBT employees.

While California’s employee protection laws are among the most comprehensive in the country, workers are still often reluctant to take action when their rights have been violated. They sometimes remain silent because they fear that they will be retaliated against or fired, and they sometimes take no action because they feel that their claims will be difficult to prove. Experienced employment law attorneys will likely be familiar with these concerns, and they may assess the merits of a workplace discrimination case and explain the laws protecting workers from retaliation and unfair dismissal.