Lis and the Single Girl: Sexual Orientation Discrimination at Work

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Single and fabulous? Well then this is the column for you!

Every wish you had your own personal Carrie Bradshaw to answer your questions — not just about what to do if your boyfriend dumps you via text message — but serious issues that confront us? This special daily edition of “Lis on Law” will address topics that single women are faced and that everybody wonders about — but no one has time to figure out.

Between work, working out, dating and maintaining a social life, it’s tough to find time to do much else. So, read up and prepare to be fully armed for brunch this weekend with your friends with some super conversation topics! Your pals will be amazed!

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I’m a lesbian and am afraid to let my employer know. Can I be fired if they find out I’m gay?

I’m sorry to say that sexual orientation discrimination, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight, may actually still be legal in your workplace depending on your location. Under federal law, although laws protect certain groups of people against discrimination such as race, sex, disability and age, inequity based on sexual orientation is not specifically proscribed by federal laws. State laws, however, may provide sanctuary from sexual discrimination. So far 15 states — including California, New York and Washington D.C. — have enacted laws that proscribe sexual orientation discrimination in public and private employers. Even more states prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in solely public workplaces.

If your employer is not covered under federal or state law, you still may be able to obtain protection under city or county ordinances. More than 180 cities prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. If none of these laws are applicable to your situation though, some progressive employers have even enacted anti-discrimination policies on their own. To inquire about standards at your employer, you can visit Lambda Legal to learn about laws specifically affecting you. For further information about gay and lesbian rights in the workplace, visit the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Web site.

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Gay/Lesbians Discrimination in Workplace

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The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.

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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. She is currently a professor of law at the New York Law School. Wiehl received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1983 and received her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland in 1985. In addition, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1987. Lis is also the author of The 51% Minority — How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can Do About It. (Watch the Video) To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.