Main | Wednesday, January 16, 2013

VIRGINIA: Workplace Protections For LGBT State Employees Proposed

Equality Virginia has issued a press release announcing that state lawmakers on Thursday will be introduced to legislation providing workplace protections for LGBT state employees.
Currently there are no workplace protections at the state or federal level for sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Consistent polling shows that 90% of Virginians believe that LGBT people should have the right to work for the government without discrimination.  In Virginia, most top private employers already extend these protections leaving state government at a competitive disadvantage. Eighty percent of Virginia’s top 25 largest private employers have policies including at least sexual orientation which helps in recruiting and retaining top talent.

Bill Description:

“Nondiscrimination in state employment. Prohibits discrimination in state employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran covered by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended. The bill defines “sexual orientation” as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression.”
RELATED: In 2010 GOP Gov. Bob McConnell refused to renew an annual executive order protecting LGBT state employees from discrimination, claiming that there was no evidence that such discrimination even existed. Shortly afterward he also ordered state universities to rescind any such protection policies, saying that they had no authority to enforce them.  One month later he did issue an executive order recognizing Confederate History Month.

NOTE: All of McConnell's above actions were aggressively enforced by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is now running for governor himself.

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