Wyoming Lawmakers Propose Workplace Protections for LGBT Employees
A bill with bipartisan support in both houses of the Wyoming Legislature would prohibit discriminatory payment and employment practices in the state based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Wyoming law does not currently have a law protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, according to WyomingEquality.org.
Senate File 153 was received for introduction on Wednesday. It would ensure employees are not paid less than other employees of a different gender identity or sexual orientation based upon those traits.
The measure would also make it illegal for an employer to refuse to hire, fire, promote, demote or otherwise discriminate against a qualified person in matters of compensation or the "terms, conditions or privileges of employment" because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, the bill would allow exemptions for religious organizations and expressive associations which are not organized for private profit and;
"(D) Whose right of expressive association under the first amendment of the United States constitution would be significantly burdened by application of this article or by any other provisions of law related to discrimination in employment.
Wyoming Equality says it will not stand for a religious exemption.
"Many people of faith, some LGBT themselves, will not allow religion to be weaponized in the workplace," the group said in a statement.
The proposal also notes that:
(f) Nothing in this article shall be interpreted to require an employer subject to this article to give preferential treatment to any employee or applicant because of the employee's or applicant's sexual orientation or gender identity on account of any imbalance in the total number or percentage of employees of a specific sexual orientation or gender identity employed by the employer or otherwise admitted to membership or classified by any labor organization or admitted to or employed in any apprenticeship or other training program.
In the Wyoming Senate, the bill is sponsored by Sen. Chris Rothfuss (D-Laramie), Sen. Henry H.R. Coe (R-Cody), Sen. Stephan A. Pappas (R-Cheyenne), Sen. Drew A. Perkins (R-Casper) and Sen. Michael Von Flatern (R-Gillette).
Rep. Eric Barlow (R-Gillette), Rep. Cathy Connolly (D-Laramie), Rep. Dan Furphy (R-Laramie), Rep. Michael K. Madden (R-Buffalo), Rep Charles Pelkey (D-Laramie) and Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne) sponsor the bill in the House.