Employment Discrimination Blog

Monday, October 8, 2018

New Study Ranks Georgia 2nd in LGBT Workplace Discrimination

What protections do LGBT employees have in the state of Georgia?

A new report released by InsuranceQuotes.com should raise alarm among Georgia employers and employees alike.  InsuranceQuotes.com, a website that allows users to compare insurance rates, compiled data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concerning complaints related to both sexual orientation and gender identity.  The study found that Georgia employees filed 4.2 charges per 100,000 residents during the years 2014 to 2017.  In total, LGBT employees filed 432 discrimination claims during that three-year period, the second highest rate of complaints nationwide.  

LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws in Georgia

This recently released study points to a serious and ongoing problem of discrimination against LGBT employees in the state of Georgia.  Likely perpetuating the problem is the lack of laws protecting LGBT employees against workplace discrimination in the state.  Georgia is one of just three states that does not have an express anti-discrimination law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.  Further, as of yet, there is not a federal law that explicitly bans LGBT discrimination in the workplace, though some cases have extended discrimination laws based on sex to protect LGBT employees.  

While many larger companies, especially those in urban areas like Atlanta, have enacted their own policies protecting LGBT employees, most employees are left with little protection.  LGBT employees in the state often report being passed over for promotions, being paid less than other employees, and even being terminated for their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

The LGBT community was disheartened to hear back in December that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case of a Georgia woman who claimed she was harassed and ultimately fired for being a lesbian and dressing in an androgynous manner.  As it stands, Georgia courts have largely declined to extend the prohibition against sex discrimination to sexual orientation discrimination. 

This does not mean that Georgia LGBT employees who are discriminated against are without recourse.  Many Georgia employees will be protected under their company’s policies, while others could be covered under federal, state, or local laws, depending on the exact circumstances surrounding the discrimination.  Georgia LGBT employees who feel they have been the victim of discrimination should consult with an employment discrimination lawyer as soon as possible to protect their legal rights. 


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