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Sexual orientation discrimination refers to harassment or differential treatment based on someone’s perceived or actual gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or heterosexual orientation.
While the federal government does not presently have a law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, both Minnesota and California are among the states that forbid employers from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation.
The laws also protect employees who are perceived as having a particular sexual orientation, whether that perception is correct or not.
Some employers may be exempt from these laws. For example, religious and certain private organizations, such as churches and the Boy Scouts, may base employment decisions on sexual orientation.
**Whether the above examples qualify as illegal discrimination depends largely on the city and state where you work since there is not an overarching federal law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination.
To return to the Practice Areas Discrimination page, click here.