When someone is discriminated against at work, they can feel isolated, ashamed, and might not even understand that what happened to them was discrimination. It can be hard to believe that an employer would mistreat an employee, so sometimes employees who experience harassment or discrimination by an employer somehow justifying the behavior in their mind.
If a person feels that they were treated unfairly based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, they might not have the same protections against termination as others in states across the country. While 21 states and the District of Columbia ban such discrimination, there are many other states that still allow firing for these reasons.
However, this week a Senate committee approved a bill that has been in Congress for the past 17 years, in some form. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against an employee based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Although the bill is still far from becoming a law, the passage by the committee is a major accomplishment with approval across political party lines.
No matter who a person is or what their background might be, they deserve to be treated with fairly and with respect while at work. People who feel that they have been discriminated against in West Virginia might be wise to speak with an experienced employment law attorney. They can help the person understand their rights and fight for a resolution to their discrimination case. It is important that everyone feels safe in their own workplace.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Senate committee passes Employment Non-Discrimination Act," Marina Villeneuve, July 10, 2013