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Employment discrimination over sexual orientation costs thousands

It has been a historic year for residents of Colorado. They have seen recreational use of marijuana legalized, and along with numerous other states, they have also seen gay marriage legalized. While it has always been illegal to discriminate based on age, race and gender, sexual orientation is relatively new to the list of reasons that employers cannot discriminate against their employees. When they do, employees are free to file an employment discrimination suit.

A man who was interning for the state patrol was recently encouraged to apply for a full-time position when his internship came to an end. Technically the job would have been the same, but presumably with pay and benefits. Part of the application process included a polygraph test, however. It was not immediately clear if that was normal procedure for all applicants, or if this man had been singled out from the beginning.

The main focus of the man's polygraph test revolved around a trip he had taken to Mexico, presumably on vacation. The man, who was still an intern at that point, apparently met a man at a bar and took him back to his room. The polygraph questioner asked whether the person who the man had taken back to his room had asked for money and if the person was a man.

The lawsuit was founded on the basis that inquiring about a person's sexual orientation is illegal. The man in question was not hired and went on to file a suit with the State Personnel Board. He also created a website that focused on the basis of why he felt he was not hired for the job. This particular case was settled with the plaintiff receiving $50,000.

This is not the first employment discrimination case that Colorado has faced; the first cost the state $750,000. No employee should ever feel like they are being passed over for a job or for a promotion because of their age, race, gender or sexual orientation. If they do, they may have options under state law to pursue compensation for that discrimination.

Source: kdvr.com, Colorado State Patrol payouts cost taxpayers $2 million in 2013, Tak Landrock, Dec. 27, 2013

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