Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination: State Law

Many states currently regulate employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the extent of that regulation varies by jurisdiction.  Some states prohibit a bias in hiring, promotion, firing, and compensation based on an employee’s sexual orientation.  With recent legislation, many states are also working towards extending protection to cover gender identity. To get more information about federal laws protecting you from sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination see our main Sexual Orientation Discrimination and Gender Identity Discrimination pages. Also visit our Attorney Listing to find a local attorney who can answer your questions. Click on your state below to find out about your state’s laws. 

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Alabama

Alabama does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Alaska

Alaska does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Arizona

Arizona does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Arkansas

Arkansas does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

California

California has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination and harassment due to sexual orientation in employment. An employer must have 5 employees to be covered by state law.

The FEHA also makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for protesting illegal discrimination related to sexual orientation discrimination.

*Provisions in the California Government Code and FEHA offer similar employee protections to individuals of other protected classes, including those suffering from gender identity discrimination at work.

Colorado

Senate Bill 25 – the Employment Nondiscrimination Act – protects against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors in Colorado.  Under Colorado Law, it is unlawful to consider sexual orientation or gender identity when making employment-related decisions, including hiring, firing, or inquiries about an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The law applies to all employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, on-the-job training, and vocational training programs and schools — regardless of size. There is no minimum employee requirement to file

Complaints must be filed within 6 months of the last date of the alleged discriminatory action. To learn more about employment protections in Colorado, or to file a complaint visit the Colorado web portal.

Connecticut

“An Act Concerning Discrimination,” or HB-6599 in Connecticut bars discrimination against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  An employer must have 3 employees to be covered by the state law.

Delaware

The Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA) protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It applies to employers with 4 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations.

It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her sexual orientation (heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality) in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. The D.C. Human Rights Act prohibits termination, suspension, demotion, failure to hire, and harassment of individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. There is no employee minimum to file a claim under state law.

Florida

Florida does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Georgia

Georgia does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Hawaii

Hawaii law §378-2 explicitly prohibits discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment. The law does not provide for a minimum employee requirement to file a claim.

The discrimination protections for sexual orientation in employment were added in 1991. In 2005 protections were extended to housing and in 2006 to public accommodations, both for sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. In 2011, gender identity or expression protections were extended to employment.

Idaho

Idaho does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Illinois

Illinois passed the Illinois Human Rights Acts, which protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  An employer must have 15 employees to be covered by the state law.

To learn more about the requirements of the Illinois Human Rights Act or to file an employment discrimination complaint, visit the Illinois Department of Human Rights website.

Indiana

Indiana does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

* An April 2017 ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that discrimination based on sexual orientation is outlawed under a federal law prohibiting “sex discrimination.” The ruling applies to public employers.

Iowa

Iowa Code § 216.6(1)(a) protects against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  An employer must have 4 employees to be covered by the state law.

Kansas

Kansas no longer has a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Between 2007 and 2015, Kansas prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for state employees, but that order was rescinded on February 10, 2015.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Kentucky

Kentucky does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Louisiana

As of November 1, 2017, Louisiana no longer has a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Maine

The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (including “gender identity or expression” in the definition of sexual orientation). The Act covers all public and private employers in the state.

In addition to prohibiting employment discrimination, the Act prohibits employers from working with an employment agency that the employer knows or has reason to know discriminates. Similarly, employment agencies are prohibited from carrying out an employer’s discriminatory preferences. There is no employee minimum under state law, but if there are fewer than 15 employees, damages you can recover may be limited.

Maryland

Pursuant to State Government Article, §20-602, Annotated Code of Maryland, employees are protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  Maryland employment anti-discrimination law applies only to employers with 15 or more employees.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. The Fair Employment Practices Law guarantees that no person shall suffer discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of his or her employment because of his or her protected class status, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification. An employer must have 6 employees to be covered by the state law.

Michigan

As of September 2017, in Michigan protection for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression only applies to state government employees. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) protects against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. There is no employee minimum to file a claim under state law.

Mississippi

Mississippi does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Missouri

Missouri does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Currently, an executive order in Missouri only prohibits discrimination in public employment based on sexual orientation. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Montana

Montana does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. However, currently, there is an executive order that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for state employees, as well state contractors and subcontractors.

Please check back as new legislation develops or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Nebraska

Nebraska does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Nevada

Nevada has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments, to employment and temporary staffing agencies, and to labor organizations.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire only provides employees protection against sexual orientation discrimination in both the public and private sectors. There are no state laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. An employer must have 6 employees to be covered by the state law.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). N.J.S.A. 10:5-1, et seq., protects against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  There is no employee minimum to file a claim under state law.

New Mexico

New Mexico’s “An Act Relating to Human Rights,” (NM Stat. Sec. 28-1-1 et seq.) protects against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. The Act applies to employers with four or more employees, except that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

New York

The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York only provides employees protection against sexual orientation discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  An employer must have 4 employees to be covered by the state law. There is currently an executive order banning discrimination based on gender identity in state employment.

North Carolina

North Carolina has a regulation that prohibits discrimination based on both sexual and gender identity; however, the regulation is only applicable to the public sector, and it is against state law to sue in state court for such discrimination. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are not prohibited statewide in private employment, A year after it’s passing, North Carolina repealed its HB2 legislation, which imposed substantial limitation and restriction to sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination protection. HB2 was replaced with HB142, which provided no guidance regarding employment discrimination for the aforementioned classes; therefore, in the absence of a statewide discrimination law, protection is only provided on the basis of federal law.

Under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

North Dakota

North Dakota does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Ohio

Ohio does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Oregon

Oregon has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. There is no employee minimum to file a claim under state law.

While Oregon has many explicit protections at the state level against sexual orientation discrimination, it forbids political subdivisions from passing or enforcing additional enactments that grant rights or single out individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, including gender identity. Or. Rev. Stat § 659.870(1).

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has several statutes that provide protection against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors. In Rhode Island, companies with four or more employees are subject to the state’s antidiscrimination law.

South Carolina

South Carolina does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

South Dakota

South Dakota does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Tennessee

Tennessee does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Texas

Texas does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Utah

Utah has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  An employer must have 15 employees to be covered by the state law.

Vermont

Vermont has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  There is no employee minimum to file a claim under state law.

Virginia

Virginia has a regulation that prohibits discrimination based on both sexual and gender identity; however, the regulation is only applicable to the public sector.  An employer must have 6-19 employees to be covered by the state law.

Washington

Washington has statutes that protect against both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both the public and private sectors.  An employer must have 8 employees to be covered by the state law.

West Virginia

West Virginia does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin only provides employees protection against sexual orientation in both the public and private sectors.  There is no employee minimum to file a claim under state law.

Wyoming

Wyoming does not currently have a statewide law that protects workers against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Please check back as new legislation develops, or consult with an attorney in your area to see if there are other laws which may protect you against discrimination.

However, under federal law, the EEOC says that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.  Please refer back to the main discrimination page for more information about filing a claim with the EEOC.