Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in West Virginia
By Christy Mallory, Sarah Liebowitz, Amira Hasenbush
More than 25,000 LGBT workers in West Virginia continue to face widespread and persistent employment discrimination absent state or federal legal protections. Charleston, Morgantown, Lewisburg, Harpers Ferry, and Buckhannon have local ordinances that prohibit employment discrimination against LGBT people, but they do not provide as much protection for LGBT people as the state’s law that prohibits other types of discrimination. Approximately 95 percent of West Virginia’s workforce is not covered by a local ordinance prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. A statewide non-discrimination law would result in 12 additional complaints being filed with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission each year. The cost of enforcing the additional complaints would be negligible. At most, it would cost the state approximately $53,750 annually; only 2.9 percent of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission’s annual budget.