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Small businesses approve legal protection for LGBT employees

There is no federal law at the present time that prohibits workplace discrimination against people who are gay, lesbian or transgender. Missouri is one of the 29 states that have no state law banning this type of discrimination in hiring or firing employees. The District of Columbia and 21 states have laws on their books that protect LGBT workers.

Small business owners were surveyed by the advocacy organization Small Business Majority and the results were that two-thirds of them felt that there should be federal and state laws protecting this minority. Actually, approximately 81 percent of those surveyed did not realize that there was no federal law prohibiting this type of employment discrimination. A small business spokesman stated that discrimination is costly for small businesses and may keep them from gaining the "best and brightest" employees.

The Human Rights Campaign has reported that of the Fortune 500 companies, 88 percent have non-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation and 57 percent had policies with regard to gender identity. As these large corporations have been leading the way, small businesses are in agreement that employment discrimination of any form will hurt the bottom line. These businesses want the most qualified employees for the positions that they need to fill.

In Missouri and other states with no anti-discrimination law against the LGBT minority, workers could potentially lose a job due to their sexual orientation and are often refused employment for the same reason. Now some small business owners are stating that they would not discriminate even if the issue contradicted their religious beliefs. An employment attorney may be able to assist someone suffering from unfair discrimination by ensuring legal rights are protected.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Most small businesses back laws to protect LGBT workers, survey says", Adolfo Flores, June 05, 2013

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