California employees should never have to suffer discrimination at the hands of their employers. However, many employees find that they are subject to discrimination because of their race, religion or sexual orientation. In particular, workplace discrimination because of a person’s sexual orientation is common across the United States.

Since 1992, the Fair Employment and Housing Act — a California state law — has protected workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This law is supposed to protect gay workers from experiencing discrimination in the workplace. This includes in the hiring or firing process. However, the law only applies to businesses that employ at least five people. The law was expanded in 2004 to include protections for transgendered individuals and for gender identity.

While this employment law makes some strides to protect LGBT workers from discrimination, it still leaves gaps in coverage. However, a new executive order may help to close these gaps and provide even more protection against workplace discrimination.

This federal executive order prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation for any contractor that is hired by the federal government. Many claim that this can help to protect workers around the country — including in California — from experiencing such discrimination.

California workers that have been discriminated against because of their gender identity or sexual orientation should understand their rights under the new executive order and California state law. In some situations, workers may be entitled to compensation for the discrimination that they have faced. By bringing a civil suit, workers can ensure that they receive fair treatment in their workplaces no matter their sexual orientation.

Source: The Sun, “Executive order could bolster California LGBT worker protections,” Brenda Gazzar, June 21, 2014