Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC

Local: 304.521.4571

Toll Free: 866.617.4736

Quality. Dedication. Service.

Senate Bill 77- Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

Photo of Nathanial Kuratomi

In recent years, many states and municipalities across the United States have sought to enact statutes and ordinances to include "sexual orientation" amongst the classes traditionally protected from discrimination. West Virginia Senate Bill 77, introduced on February 15, 2017, similarly seeks to amend the West Virginia Human Rights Act and West Virginia Fair Housing Act to include "sexual orientation" as a protected class and prohibit discrimination in employment, places of public accommodation, and housing on the basis of "sexual orientation."

Generally speaking, the West Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment and in places of public accommodation on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, blindness, disability, or familial status. Similarly, the West Virginia Fair Housing Act prohibits the refusal to sell or rent housing on the same bases.

If enacted, S.B. 77 will prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of a person's "sexual orientation," or as the bill defines it, on the basis of "heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression, whether actual or perceived." The final phrase of this definition tracks other anti-discrimination measures in that the proposed legislation not only would prohibit discrimination against an individual because of his or her actual sexual orientation, but would also prohibit discrimination based on an employer's or a seller/lessor's perception of that individual's sexual orientation.

It is worth noting that this provision would not necessarily apply to all employers or sellers/lessors. Rather, organizations that are exempt from religious discrimination under Title VII of the United States Code would not be prohibited from discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation."

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information