You’ve likely seen the bumper sticker that says “Mean People Suck!” Well, I’m going to
carry the bumper sticker a little further. I think people who discriminate against someone
because of their sexual orientation are mean people. To complete the syllogism – my form of
reasoning – “Discrimination Sucks!”
I was surprised to learn that there is no federal law that specifically outlaws workplace
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the private sector. Only federal government
workers are protected from such discrimination. I find that odd. Isn’t discrimination generally
wrong? Shouldn’t it be condemned everywhere? Attempts to pass federal legislation that would
outlaw sexual orientation discrimination in private workplaces have been unsuccessful to date.
What about state law? New Hampshire has had an anti-discrimination law protecting gay,
lesbian, and bisexual individuals from discrimination since 1998. New Hampshire’s law bans
sexual orientation discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing.
The law protects people who are gay and it protects people perceived to be gay. The nondiscrimination
law defines “sexual orientation” as “having or being perceived as having an
orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality.” Being perceived as gay likely
extends to a person who is fired even while they are closeted, or because they are perceived to be
gay (whether they are or not). It takes a mean person to fire such a person or discriminate against
such a person – particularly if the person being fired is capable of doing the job and, in fact, is
doing a good job.
New Hampshire law applies to employers (government based or private) who have at
least 6 employees. It forbids employers from refusing to hire a person, or discharging them, or
discriminating against them “in compensation, or in terms, conditions or privileges of
employment” because of sexual orientation. This provision covers a variety of job actions. Job
actions include hiring, firing, failing to promote, demotion, excessive discipline, harassment and
different treatment of the employee and similarly-situated co-workers.
New Hampshire’s law does not apply to an employer with fewer than 6 employees. The
law is not applicable to an employer which is a non-profit social club or a fraternal or religious
association or corporation. New Hampshire’s definition of “employer” includes non-profit
educational and charitable institutions. I guess mean people should gravitate to smaller
Sexual harassment is prohibited by New Hampshire law. This includes unwelcome
sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a
sexual nature. These acts constitute sexual harassment when submission to such conduct is made
either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment; when
submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment
decisions affecting such individual; or when such conduct has the purpose or effect of
unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating,
hostile, or offensive working environment. Sounds like bullying to me.
Sexual harassment is bullying’s cousin. The results of sexual harassment are as
devastating as any form of bullying. Workplace discrimination of this sort is especially
troublesome. One would think we all have the right to make a living. We should all have that
right because we all – generally speaking – need to make a living.
Everyone has dreams. These dreams are not dependent on sexual orientation. All of us
have pride. This pride is not dependent on sexual orientation. We all believe in fair play. Fair
play is not dependent on sexual orientation.
Anyone who purposely degrades another human being is mean in my book. Any person
who discriminates against another human being just because they don’t like that person’s sexual
orientation is particularly mean in my book.