You’re An Idiot If You Discriminate Because Someone is Gay

As an attorney, I try to be careful with expressing a personal opinion. For the most part, my personal opinion doesn’t matter when it comes to a case. If you hire me, its because I’m going to do my job and represent you to the best of my abilities, regardless of whether or not I agree with your choices, opinions or actions.

But I’m not going to beat around the bush here. If you’re considering sexual orientation when hiring, firing or making any other employment decisions, you’re an idiot. I’ll repeat that: you’re an idiot.

Change is coming. Congress is currently considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prevent employers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Similar bills have failed to pass before, but given the current climate, ENDA has a greater chance of passing than any point in the past.

Change is here. Gay marriage is permitted in more and more states. Pennsylvania recently joined the crowd, with Judge Jones committing Pennsylvania’s law prohibiting same-sex marriage to the ash heap of history. And, to date, no federal district court judge has found a state’s law prohibiting same-sex marriage constitutional.

Clearly, the country’s views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage are rapidly changing. Maybe yours should too.  After all, it makes good business sense to be open-minded, if doing the right thing isn’t enough.

You Are Missing Out on Talent

Businesses exist to make money. In the end, that’s the whole point. You provide a product or a service for money. If you’re not providing the product or service well enough, you won’t be in business long.

In order to become successful and help your business grow, you need talented employees. And if you’re limiting yourself to only straight employees, you’re missing out on a large portion of the talent pool. Quite frankly, limiting your talent pool to straight people makes as much sense as limiting it to only men or only white people. Talent is not limited to those people whose lifestyle you find acceptable.

No Law Doesn’t Mean No Lawsuits

Until ENDA, or something similar, passes there isn’t a federal law prohibiting discrimination against an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be sued.

Some creative plaintiffs’ lawyers have discovered methods of bringing lawsuits against employers for discriminating based on sexual orientation. Some plaintiffs have had some success claiming discrimination based on not meeting gender stereotypes (i.e. a man acting feminine or a female acting masculine), rather than simply discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Even if you manage to successfully defend the lawsuit, you’ll still have attorney’s fees.  You should be working to eliminate, or at least limit, your legal liabilities. So why would you even take a foolish risk that could cost you a great deal of money?

It’s None of Your Business

Most importantly, whether your employee goes home to a man or woman is none of your business.

So take a long hard look at yourself, and decide whether you want to do the right thing and possibly reap some business benefits, or continue down the other path with a rapidly shrinking group of like-minded people and likely see your business suffer.

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Casey Sipe

Casey is a management-side labor and employment attorney with Caldwell & Kearns in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he writes a labor and employment law blog, The Employer's Lawyer. He loves technology, social media, soccer and bow ties. Connect with Casey.

Reader Interactions


  1. Mark Anthony says

    It seems to me that all of the discrimination issues – women, blacks, gays, whatever – are related. There seems to be a huge push in the direction of protecting… well.

    A church I attended when I was a schoolboy spread a rumor I was a homosexual BUT I did not realize it until I was probably 35 or 40 years old. When I graduated from College I took a government job and apparently they figured “since I was a homosexual” I wouldn’t mind working in a branch that was all women and black.

    One High School substitute teacher started talking about Writers who were homosexual then said she “liked my writing ability”. I don’t know what she meant by this. So far as I know she never READ anything I ever wrote, although I generally did well in school including English. It’s just that I was a lonely kid to be sure. If everyone thinks you’re a fag and doesn’t want to be around you then you’ve got problems. But the reality is I would never embrace a career to become gay or be a homosexual. I was lonely, yes. I did not know how to interact with my peers.

    Teachers actually hurt me in this regard. They were promising me that I was going to have a great job when I got out of school, would not have to worry about money. The problem was (then and now) that I did not know what they had planned for me. I was a good student, did well in school and I always figured education would be a big plus. But there was that lack of a sense of direction. I did not have and still have no passion for life.

    The employment culture I have experienced seems to be against normal individuals. It is as if people expect me to hang with misfit minorities or bitchy women’s lib types and deny my own individuality.

    And in case you don’t know, employers have people follow you around. I ride a bike as a hobby. One day I drove my car about 10 miles from work, parked the car and rode my bike the rest of the way. Another day I biked about 25 miles to work. My employer KNEW both times and commented on it?

    Except for me, does anyone NOT KNOW what is going on?


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