The United States is an ever-expanding melting pot, challenging the employer at every level. Gay and lesbian employees pose a particular challenge to employers, as the rights afforded these individuals vary from state to state and from the federal to local level. An employer practicing in Pennsylvania with an office in Philadelphia, for example, will find that it is prohibited from discriminating in the workplace based on sexual orientation at the local level, but will find no such prohibition at the federal or state level. Moreover, because same-sex civil unions and marriages are not recognized in Pennsylvania, employers are faced with tough questions about the social and economic burdens imposed on gay and lesbian employees. Thus, until gay and lesbian workers are availed of equal standing, employers must decide how to address diversity in the workplace for these individuals.
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