Employment Discrimination

En Español

Q. Can my employer fire me if I marry my same-sex partner?

A. No. Even though no federal statutes explicitly prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that firing someone because they married a person of the same sex constitutes impermissible sex discrimination under federal law.

In addition, employees who work for the federal government or federal contractors are protected by executive orders that explicitly protect against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Many states and cities also explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

If you believe your employer has taken adverse action against you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, or because you are married to a person of the same sex, contact one of our organizations.
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Q. Can my employer refuse to add my same-sex spouse to my health insurance?

A. No. You should be able to add your spouse to your health insurance. Denying health benefits solely because you are married to a person of the same sex would violate federal law prohibiting sex discrimination. If your employer has refused to offer your same-sex spouse the same benefits offered to different-sex spouses of employees, contact one of our organizations.
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Q. If I work for a religious organization can I legally be fired or discriminated against because I married someone of the same sex?

A. It depends. Most employees of religious organizations are still protected by federal, state and local non-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. If you perform religious duties as part of your job, however, your employer may not be subject to these non-discrimination rules. Additionally, some places of worship and religiously-affiliated institutions are entitled to hire employees who share the religious beliefs of the organization. If you feel you have been wrongly discriminated against by a religious employer, contact one of our organizations.
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This guidance is intended to provide general information.  It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.  None of the organizations publishing this information can ensure the information is current or be responsible for any use to which it is put.