By John Mack Freeman
A study by Vox over the last week shows just how important federal legislation protecting LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace is. They found that while 18 states protect workers on the basis of gender identity and 21 states protected workers based on sexual orientation, 29 protect workers who smoke from discrimination. Ironically, employers have more to lose by employing smokers, as an Ohio State University study found that employers lose on average $6,000 per year for each employee that smokes due to lost productivity from absenteeism and smoke breaks and from increased health care costs.
Currently, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is pending before Congress. But as more and more LGBT groups and individuals abandon it due to its potential for a broad religious exemption, the need for an alternative that adequately protects the entire group grows daily.