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Did sexual orientation discrimination cost Wisconsin man a job?

A Wisconsin man is alleging that his offer of employment was wrongfully rescinded because of a perception that he is gay.

Wisconsin has laws that protect workers from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity. These laws not only protect workers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, but also those workers who are inaccurately perceived as such.

Regis Catholic Schools, a Wisconsin educational provider, announced they had selected a candidate for their open president position in April; however, less than a month later, that offer was rescinded. Someone else was hired instead, and the original candidate filed a discrimination complaint.

The candidate claims his offer was withdrawn because of an obituary for his father that led to speculation that he is homosexual. In the obituary, the candidate's name was listed next to that of another man. The potential president said the man he had been listed with was simply his best friend, but that those doing the hiring assumed the two were a couple.

Lawyers for Regis Catholic Schools have claimed that the withdrawn offer of employment had nothing to do with sexual preference.

Believe it or not, there is no federal legislation that explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, gender discrimination laws can sometimes be applicable when an employee or job candidate has been discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, Wisconsin provides its own state-level protections for workers who are victims of sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination.

Source: The Associated Press, Discrimination complaint filed against Regis, June 7, 2013

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