Supreme Court rules it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ workers; Utah state law in place for 5 years now

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is expected to have a big impact for the estimated 8.1 million LGBTQ workers across the country because many states don’t protect them from workplace discrimination. But Utah has already passed nondiscrimination legislation. 

In March 2015, Utah lawmakers signed a bill that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment and housing discrimination; making it illegal for employers to fire someone for being LGBTQ or for landlords to evict people based on self-identification.

With Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that now federally protects LGBTQ workers nationwide, Bryan Benard with Holland and Hart said Utahns may not notice much change, due to the state laws that are already in practice.

“But what might have taken place is this heightened awareness now,” said Benard who works in the labor and employment group of Holland and Hart. “That now we understand that an employment decision can’t be made, or I can’t be fired just because I am gay or of transgender status.”

As discussions of equality continue both in and around the LGBTQ community, Benard said he believes there may be more talk of how to better address employee concerns.  

“We just recommend listen to your employees,” Benard said. “And let them be heard and then make your decisions fairly amongst those opinions.”

For employers, Benard said in addition to listening to employee concerns, to educate yourself, and explain your reasoning behind your staffing decisions.

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