Under federal law it is entirely legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. At the same time, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender—or LGBT—Americans report widespread discrimination in the workplace, which forces many of them into the ranks of the unemployed and leaves them without an income to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, and otherwise make ends meet. Workplace discrimination is not only a problem for workers—it also presents problems for businesses by introducing inefficiencies and costs that cut into profits and undermine businesses’ bottom lines.
While many states, municipalities, and corporations have instituted policies that shield LGBT workers from workplace bias, LGBT individuals currently lack adequate legal protections from employment discrimination. In fact, a majority of workers currently live in states that have not passed laws giving LGBT workers legal protections from workplace discrimination.
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