Male CoupleAll states forbid employers from discriminating based on race, gender, national origin, and religion, but not all states protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender workers from discrimination.

Some State Laws Protect LGBT Workers

If you are LGBT, your state may have a law that protects you from being fired or treated differently at work because of your sexual orientation. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination. The remaining states have no laws that cover workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Understand the laws in the state where you live and work.

Some City Ordinances Protect LGBT Workers

Despite state laws, many cities and towns have local laws that protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. For example, there is no state law in Michigan covering employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, Detroit and Ann Arbor both have ordinances that forbid workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Same-Sex Partners Sometimes Get Employment Benefits

An employment contract is a legal agreement. Your employment contract may allow same-sex couples health care benefits. Many universities and private employers offer health care for domestic partners.

Some states, like Arizona, give state employees health care coverage for same-sex partners. States that allow same-sex marriage, such as Iowa, require that employers offer equal health care options for same-sex spouses. Generally, couples seeking employment benefits must live together and show some evidence that they're partners, such as a joint bank account or home ownership, to qualify.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Is History

In 2011, President Barack Obama lifted the restrictions on sexual orientation in the military. You can no longer be refused entry to or discharged from the military because of your public sexual orientation.

In addition, you cannot be refused a security clearance because of your sexual orientation. In the past, for example, you might not have been hired by the Central Intelligence Agency, because LGBT workers were not allowed the necessary security clearances.

An Employment Lawyer Can Help

The laws on workplace discrimination and sexual orientation can be complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For

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