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The RFRA may be changing how people look at discrimination laws

When you go to work or out in public, it should not be an unrealistic expectation that you are treated fairly by all you encounter. Still, every day employees and customers face discrimination due to their race, age, sex, sexual orientation or even a disability from which they suffer.

Indianapolis in particular has recently struggled with discrimination and clarifying some of its laws. The new Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was passed has caused a lot of confusion for residents of Indianapolis. This act allows individuals and companies to refuse service based on their religious beliefs. With people being able to deny someone service because of their religious beliefs, residents are furious because they feel as though businesses can now deny service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members.

While people are saying the law allows businesses to discriminate, leaders of the Indiana Legislature are saying the law doesn?t permit discrimination of any kind. There are currently local nondiscrimination laws that protect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members in the workplace, home, school and public, and the main concern is that the new act undermines these local laws. There are plans to fix the law to clarify what it really means.

With this law meaning businesses cannot discriminate, employees are still encouraged to report employers who commit illegal acts. People may not want to step forward out of fear of employer retaliation, but thanks to Whistleblower Protection, they don?t have to be. The Whistleblower Protection Act makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against acts, so there is no punishment for stepping forward if their employer is discriminating against customers.

If someone feels as though they have been discriminated against at work or in a public establishment, contact an Indianapolis discrimination attorney.

Source: USA Today, "What the 'religious freedom' law really means for Indiana," Stephanie Wang, April 13, 2015

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