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House passes bill to expand federal civil rights for LGBTQ workers

civil rights icon2 min read

The U.S. House of Representatives took a significant step forward by passing the Equality Act, aiming to protect individuals from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity by employers, as well as in housing and other areas subject to federal law.

Today, several states, counties, and cities have already banned workplace discrimination based on a person’s LGBTQ status. However, not all laws prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. (Some offer protections for one or two of these, but not all three.) Employers can elect to protect LGBTQ workplace rights with their own internal policies even though federal law doesn’t cover these characteristics.

The Senate is unlikely to pass this bill. Later this year, the Supreme Court is expected to hear several cases that ask whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination.

Find more details on this legislation in this article from SHRM.