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Top 10 LGBT-Employment Friendly States

Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, XpertHR Legal Editor

Employment opportunities and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals have been on the rise in recent years but can vary considerably from state to state. Some states mandate certain legal protections and benefits for LGBTs explicitly while others offer no protections or benefits. In fact, according to the Movement Advancement Project, 52% of the LGBT population resides in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

What specifically are LGBT-friendly states doing? A number of states have enacted legislation protecting LGBTs from employment discrimination although no equivalent federal protections currently exist. Several states also permit LGBTs to enter into same-sex marriages (as well as civil unions and domestic partnerships) and provide these couples with the same or similar rights and benefits as heterosexual couples. Moreover, a number of states have enacted legislation banning hate crimes against individuals based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

In an effort to better illustrate this growing trend, XpertHR has compiled the below list of the top 10 LGBT-employment friendly states based on their state specific laws which prohibit discrimination, the availability of same-sex marriage and other benefits, the state laws with regard to hate crimes, and the state's generally positive working and living climate for LGBTs.