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Employment Discrimination: Sexual Orientation

Some Indiana readers will be alarmed to learn that there are currently no federal laws that sufficiently address employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Nevertheless, some states have adopted state laws that protect members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

In a recent story, a gay man, formerly employed as an auditor for the Library of Congress's inspector general's office, filed an employment discrimination suit for sex discrimination. Sources say that the man worked in a temporary position with the office and was quickly promoted to a full time position.

Everything seemed to be going well. The employee's boss even invited the worker to events. After meeting the boss' daughter, the worker became Facebook friends with her. Trouble started when the daughter discovered that the worker was gay.

Specifically, harassment began with a threatening e-mail the employee received referring to his homosexuality. The employee was then subjected to religious lectures from his boss that focused on Hell and the idea that it is a sin to be gay. The boss started every conversation with a religious lecture that targeted the worker's sexual orientation.

The stress of the situation ultimately caused the employee to take medical leave from his job. After taking 37 consecutive days off, he lost his job. This was the case despite the fact that the library had approved the time off for medical leave.

The suit alleges that the former employee faced a hostile work environment, along with religious discrimination. The former employee is seeking reinstatement at his job, back pay and compensatory and punitive damages. He, and all of those discriminated against at work, are entitled to this type of compensation.

Source: The Washington Post, "Gay man sues Library of Congress, alleging discrimination," Lisa Rein, Aug. 22, 2012

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