LGBT Employment Rights

LGBT rainbow shirt under suit jacket

Despite the fact that the LGBT community now has the right to marriage certificates in Pennsylvania, LGBT employees can be fired due to their sexual orientation or identity. Pennsylvania has yet to enact a statewide law that offers employment protection to the LGBT community. While the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lags behind, local governments of cities and municipalities have stepped up to end employment discrimination of the LGBT.

LGBT Employment Rights

Twenty-two states and Washington DC have made it illegal for employers to discriminate against LGBT employees due to their sexuality. While LGBT employees of private employers do not receive discrimination protection, Pennsylvania does protect LGBT workers from discrimination of sexual orientation or gender identity if they are working for the state. Pennsylvania also bans state contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.

Pennsylvania Municipalities and Cities that Protects LGBT Employment

The voice of the people is clearer and clearer as more and more municipalities and cities within Pennsylvania choose to extend specific employment protections to LGBT employees. While state law might drag behind, local governments are making historical changes. Until all of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides anti-discrimination legislation for the LGBT community, here are the areas where LGBT employees receive protections.

State College

Erie County
Allegheny County

New Hope
Swarthmore Borough
Lower Merion Township
West Chester
Landsdowne Borough
Doylestown Borough
Haverford Township
Conshohocken Borough
Springfield Township
Newtown Borough
Whitemarsh Township
Jenkintown Borough
Susquehanna Township

Cheltenham Township
Abington Township
East Norriton Township
Upper Merion Township
City of Pittston
Downington Borough
Ambler Borough
Dickson City
Kennet Square
State College Borough
Camp Hill

Even in 2017, five more towns have elected to protect employees from discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity. Employees who work in any of the above areas are protected from discrimination. If an employer discriminates against an employee on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, that employee might have a case against the employer.

At this time, neither Altoona nor Williamsport offer any protections to the LGBT community. If you find yourself experiencing employment discrimination in an area that offers no protections, contact an employment lawyer. Sometimes, a case can be made for discrimination on the basis of a federal and state legally protected class.

LGBT Employment Rights

The United States offers employees a substantial list of rights. And the LGBT community receives these same rights to privacy, safe workplace, and a fair wage as any other employee under the law. Unfortunately, some areas might not offer specific protections to LGBT employees so they might be suffering employment injustices. Without anti-discrimination laws, an LGBT employee’s best option might be finding a new job.

Fair Wages

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) obligates employers to pay employees an appropriate wage. When an employer fails to pay employees, employees can sue for unpaid wages. FLSA also outlines the rules for overtime pay for non-exempt employees.

Safe Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) describes the type of work environment that employees are entitled to work in. Employees should not be exposed to a dangerous workplace unless adequately equipped. But, if an employee recognizes their workplace as unsafe, the employee can request an OSHA inspection.

Unpaid Leave

For employees who meet certain requirements of the law, they are eligible for unpaid leave during family or medical problems. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) goes so far as to provide 12 workweeks of job protected unpaid work leave. Meanwhile, employees who serve in the military or reserves have job-protected leave through the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).


When an employee files a complaint about violations to any employee right, the law protects them from retaliation. In fact, retaliation is illegal. An employer who retaliates against an employee for exercising an employment right only helps to build the case against themselves.

LGBT Employment Discrimination

The above list of cities, towns, and counties shows the areas in Pennsylvania where LGBT employment discrimination is illegal. Employees who recognize that an employer is discriminating against them based on sexual orientation or gender identity in any area of employment might have a case under the law. LGBT discrimination in employment is illegal in hiring, promoting, demoting, project assigning, and firing.


If you have experienced a violation of your LGBT employment rights, contact an employment lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or