There are nearly 47,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents in West Virginia. Only about half of those are employed, and it could be due to the fact that West Virginia has no bill protecting LGBT residents from losing their jobs or their homes simply for their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Since 2008, Senate president Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall has been working on a bill to change that. The Employment Housing Non-Discrimination Act would prevent landlords and employers fromdiscriminating against West Virginia residents on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is defined in the bill as "heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression, whether actual or perceived."
A 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center, 78 percent of LGBT community members reported harassment at work, and 47 percent reported mistreatment in the areas of hiring, pay, or promotion. In 2013, that number decreased to 21 percent.
Advocates of the bill say it's common to hear of same-sex couples losing their homes or jobs when their employers learned that they were gay, lesbian or transgender. Bill supporters contend that passage of the bill would make West Virginia a more desirable place for everyone to live and work.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.