Over the past several months, President Obama has been widely criticized for failing to protect the LGBT community from a certain kind of discrimination. It is within the president’s authority to draft an executive order insisting that LGBT workers must be protected from employment discrimination based on their sexual orientation and sexual identifications. The president has declined to draft such an order however, for one arguably compelling reason.
The number of job discrimination claims filed during fiscal year 2013 was down from historic highs reached over the past three years. Experts say that tough economic times are often related to an increase in these types of lawsuits. It is not clear why this relationship exists, but it could be a result of the difficulty of finding a new job after discrimination costs an employee their old job, amplifying the sense of injustice that one might feel after losing their job because of their race, religion, or disability status.
A couple of months ago, in this Greenbelt Employment Law Blog, we discussed a bill that had been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would ban employment discrimination based on one's sexual orientation. As we mentioned in that post, many Maryland residents may not even be aware that this type of employment discrimination is not yet outlawed by the federal government.
This week was a historic week in professional sports. NBA center Jason Collins came out as gay, becoming the first male professional athlete to do so. The NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL all ban sexual orientation discrimination in their leagues, but nonetheless no one has felt comfortable coming out publicly until Collins.