House and Senate Pass Bill Prohibiting Employment Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

April, 2007

On April 19, 2007, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2, which prohibits employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Earlier in the week, the House also voted to pass this Bill. Senate Bill 2 is now set to go to Governor Kulongoski, who has indicated he will sign it.

This Bill defines sexual orientation as an "individual's actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender identity, regardless of whether the individual's gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual's sex at birth."

Although not signed into law just yet, proactive employers are encouraged to review and revise their equal employment opportunity (EEO) and anti-harassment policies to specifically extend protection against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Should Senate Bill 2 be signed by Governor Kulongoski, the law should also be incorporated into anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training.

Cascade Employers Association recommends employers conduct this training on a regular basis.  Doing so creates awareness about these issues and helps minimize potential liability by showing the company has taken steps to minimize discrimination and harassment in the workplace.


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