Local Government Anti-Discrimination Laws: Do They Make A Difference?

During the past decade, local governments have expanded their role protecting individuals from discrimination in private employment. Although federal and state laws already protect individuals from employment discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, and disability, local anti-discrimination ordinances protect an even wider range of characteristics such as sexual orientation, marital status, military status, and income level. The author details the results of a survey indicating that the agencies and dispute resolution processes mandated by local anti-discrimination ordinances are seldom used to protect this wider range of characteristics He argues that effective, uniform anti-discrimination protection should come from the federal government.