skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, April 19, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

WA, Nation Work to Protect LGBT Employees from Discrimination

play audio
Play

Wednesday, June 18, 2014   

OLYMPIA, Wash. - President Obama's upcoming executive order protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender against discrimination as federal contract workers is the latest chapter in an area of law that is evolving along with public opinion.

Washington was one of the first states to pass any kind of anti-discrimination law in the 1940s, but today its largest city ranks third in the nation for hate crimes, said Jesse Wing, an attorney at MacDonald, Hoague and Bayless in Seattle. He said he thinks some of the most contentious legal standoffs will be with companies that cite religious beliefs as reasons not to hire or serve people of nontraditional sexual orientation.

"I think we're going to see more and more of those cases as they wind their way through the courts," he said, "and the courts have to make a decision as to whether the religious freedom or the freedom from discrimination takes the higher priority."

Wing said attorneys are getting more calls now that people know they have legal rights to fight harassment and retaliation. He cited one case in 2009 in which a Washington woman won a settlement of more than $4 million from her employer. She said she lost her job for reporting anti-gay remarks made by coworkers.

Obama's executive order is expected to protect more than 1 million LGBT employees of federal contractors.

In Congress, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed the Senate last year, but was stuck in the House. Even advocates for LGBT workers were concerned it wouldn't have been effective by exempting religious organizations. Despite the president's executive order, Wing predicted progress will continue to be slow but steady.

"The whole national trend toward accepting gay marriage is kind of a sea-change," he said. "I think it's causing people to reflect more seriously about, if you can get married and you're gay, maybe you shouldn't be mistreated in your workplace because of it."

State law also could be more clear, he said. For instance, perceived sexual orientation is not protected - that is, if a person is harassed for being gay when he or she isn't. The state also doesn't require companies to have anti-discrimination policies, although he said he thinks that may someday change.

The Washington Human Rights Commission FAQ page on gender-identity questions is online at hum.wa.gov.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
The Bureau of Land Management's newly issued Public Lands Rule is designed to safeguard cultural resources such as New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Park. (Photo courtesy SallyPaez)

Environment

play sound

Balancing the needs of the many with those who have traditionally reaped benefits from public lands is behind a new rule issued Thursday by the Bureau…


Health and Wellness

play sound

Alzheimer's disease is the eighth-leading cause of death in Pennsylvania. A documentary on the topic debuts Saturday in Pittsburgh. "Remember Me: …

Environment

play sound

Arizona conservation groups and sportsmen alike say they're pleased the Bureau of Land Management will now recognize conservation as an integral part …


Social Issues

play sound

The need for child care and early learning is critical, especially in rural Arkansas. One nonprofit is working to fill those gaps by giving providers …

Workers harvest a field before the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. (Jeff Huth/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

An annual march for farmworkers' rights is being held Sunday in northwest Washington. This year, marchers are focusing on the conditions for local …

Social Issues

play sound

A new Gallup and Lumina Foundation poll unveils a concerning reality: Hoosiers may lack clarity about the true cost of higher education. The survey …

Environment

play sound

As state budget negotiations continue, groups fighting climate change are asking California lawmakers to cut subsidies for oil and gas companies …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021