Proposed Laws Would Strip Local LGBT Employee Protections in Texas
Last week we discussed non-discrimination ordinances (NDOs) and how they can impact workers’ rights, especially for classes of workers like the LGBT community that are otherwise not covered under state or federal law. However, if certain legislation succeeds, those NDOs could be thrown out by the state government.
One such bill was presented by Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land) and would make it illegal for a city to pass an ordinance creating a protected class, such as the LGBT community, or to prohibit discrimination on a basis not contained in state law. Miller, who himself has a gay son, believes that cities should not be able to tell businesses who to do business with.
Anti-LGBT Discrimination in the News
Proposals like Miller’s echo the widely lambasted Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence in March that critics believed would allow employers to discriminate against LGBT employees and customers for religious reasons. Indiana’s RFRA has since been clarified to prevent businesses from using the legislation to refuse employment, housing or service to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite this clarification, tens of millions of dollars in business were redirected away from Indiana after companies including Apple and Walmart decried the discriminatory aspects of the law.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker and CEO of the Texas Association of Business Bill Hammond have both urged lawmakers to fight the bills, for fear of Texas suffering economic consequences similar to Indiana’s. Our Dallas employment law attorneys will keep you up to date on this matter as more news arrives.
Atkerson Law – Dallas Employment Attorney