Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are. People do not want to live in fear that their friends, families or employers are going to discriminate against them because of how they were born or what they believe in. However, many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals have to deal with this fear each day.

However, times are changing in California and around the country. People are becoming more tolerant and LGBT individuals are gaining more protections. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center has recently been released which shows LGBT individuals are happier than ever. The study, which interviewed around 1,200 people from across the country, found that while LGBT people feel like society is more open than ever before, that many still face discrimination. In fact, many have admitted to being physically threatened and verbally abused.

Furthermore, this study found that in addition to the right to marry, many LGBT individuals are concerned about being discriminated against at work. Under current employment laws, it is illegal to discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation in California. However, discrimination still exists and new laws may be needed to make this protection iron-clad.

When California employees face discrimination because of their sexual orientation, they may be eligible for compensation. These anti-discrimination laws do not stop at sexual orientation — they also protect people against discrimination based on their race, religion, national origin, gender and age.

This discrimination can be outright — the employer makes comments, jokes or participates in other inappropriate behavior — but it can occur if an employer condones discrimination by a co-worker. Employees need to know that they do not have to suffer from discrimination in any part of their employment — from hiring to termination an employee’s sexual orientation should never make a difference.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Lesbians and gays see a more accepting society,” Emily Alpert, June 13, 2013