Philadelphia Increases Employment Protections for LGBT Individuals

by Morgan Lewis

New ordinance has a number of provisions that may impact employers doing business in the city.

On May 9, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law a bill that steps up the city's efforts to become what the mayor has described as the "most LGBT-friendly city in the world."[1] Bill No. 130224—the "LGBT Equality Bill"—passed on April 25 with a 14-3 vote and has a number of provisions that may impact employers doing business in Philadelphia.

With the passage of this law, Philadelphia joins an increasing number of states and municipalities that are strengthening legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals. Already this year, Delaware and Rhode Island have enacted same-sex marriage laws, and Colorado has adopted civil unions.[2] Moreover, just a few weeks ago, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. senators and congressmembers reintroduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a federal law that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA has percolated in Congress for years but gained traction recently, and many predict it will pass this year.

The Philadelphia "LGBT Equality Bill"

Specifically, the new Philadelphia law does the following:

  • Amends the city code's general definition of "family" to include those who are not legally married but who have formed a "life partnership," which the bill defines as a same-gender couple that lives together and has "agree[d] to share the common necessities of life and to be responsible for each other's common welfare."
  • Prohibits employers from "fail[ing] to permit employees to dress consistently in accordance with their gender identity" and from "fail[ing], upon the request of an individual, to change that individual's name or gender on any forms or records" to the extent permitted by law.
  • Provides tax credits to employers that make health benefits available to its employees' life partners and their children.
  • Provides tax credits to employers that make health coverage available for the medical costs associated with undergoing a gender transition.

Employers should note that these tax incentives are meant for employers that do not already offer such benefits. Employers do not qualify for a credit if they offered similar benefits in the three tax years immediately prior to the application for credit.

What Employers Can Do to Address These Changes

As a general matter, private employers are ahead of this legislative tide toward employment protections for individuals in the LGBT community. Reports estimate that approximately 88% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies, and 57% protect gender identity. Nevertheless, employers doing business in Philadelphia should make certain that both sexual orientation and gender identity are included in their antidiscrimination policies and should include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender stereotyping in their antiharassment training programs.

Likewise, employers around the country—even those outside of jurisdictions that explicitly protect sexual orientation and gender identity—may want to consider making these changes since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now taking the position that discrimination against LGBT employees can be a form of "gender stereotyping" in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Macy v. Holder, No. 0120120821, 2012 WL 1435995 (E.E.O.C. Apr. 20, 2012) (discrimination against a transgender applicant falls within the scope of Title VII's prohibition of unlawful gender stereotyping).

Finally, notwithstanding that many private employers already protect against discrimination on the basis of gender identity, employers are encouraged to think carefully through issues relating to the protection of transgendered individuals.  A 2011 survey published by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 47% of study participants reported experiencing an adverse job outcome—such as being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion—as a result of being transgender or as a result of gender nonconformity, and 50% claimed to have been harassed at work.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis attorneys:


[1]. View the bill here.

[2]. For more information, view our January 29, 2013, LawFlash, "The Second Obama Term: New Employment Protections for LGBT Individuals Possible," available here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morgan Lewis | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Morgan Lewis

Morgan Lewis on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.