Many Americans who believe that federal law protects the LBGT community from employment discrimination are in for a surprise. A national poll, taken in 2011, showed that 90 percent of Americans believed Congress had already passed a law protecting employees from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. It turns out that those assumptions were wrong. However, protection does exist in some states. California is one of those states. In 2013, any person who lives in a state or city without such a law can be fired simply for their sexual orientation.
Currently 29 of 52 states do not explicitly forbid sexual orientation-based discrimination. Also, 33 states lack protection for gender-based discrimination. A study by the Center for American Progress found that more than 50 percent of all American employees lack protection. That fact may soon be about to change. On Aug. 15th, a U.S. Senate leadership aide reported that federal legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was passed by a committee and could be voted on by the entire Senate as early as September.