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New legislation for federal LGBT workers

Many residents in New York may already know that there are 32 states in the United States that currently allow employers to fire someone due to being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. On June 16, a White House representative said that President Obama requested that his staff draft an executive order to prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT workers of federal contractors. This new legislation could reportedly affect 16 million employees in the United States.

The president's order would prevent employees from being discriminated against in the workplace due to gender identify or sexual orientation. White House officials noted that there is currently no federal law in place that provides adequate protections for these employees. President Obama first vowed to sign-off on non-discrimination legislation for LGBT individuals during his 2008 presidential campaign. In this latest announcement, which was given shortly before he was scheduled to appear at a Democratic National Committee LGBT Gala, the president credited inaction by Congress to have spurred the executive order.

A former advisor under the Clinton administration noted that these types of bills have stalled in the House and that Congress has been divided on the issue for at least two years. Officials claim that there has been no timetable established for issuing the order and that it would most likely build upon existing protections guaranteed for discrimination against race, religion, sex, color and nationality.

Some senators claim that this could be a historical moment for the United States. During a discussion with Huffington Post in May, Vice President Biden said that he could not foresee any negative ramifications for using executive powers to push through this type of legislation. People who feel they have been or are currently being treated unfairly due to sexual orientation or gender identification may now have more credence to bring a discrimination case to court against an employer.

Source: AOL Jobs, "Obama Drafting Executive Order Targeting LGBT Workplace Discrimination", Mack Gelber, June 17, 2014

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