DEAR ABBY: It was brought to my attention that an employee in my workplace was asked by his supervisor if he would be OK with working with a gay male before the person was interviewed. Is this even legal? She basically "outed" the potential employee in the workplace.
If the person she asked did have a problem working with someone who's gay, it implies the man wouldn't have been hired, which would be discrimination, wouldn't it? Couldn't that lead to a possible lawsuit? Or am I wrong? -- RIGHT OR WRONG IN WISCONSIN
DEAR RIGHT OR WRONG: I discussed your question with an attorney from Lambda Legal, the national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people. Currently, 21 states plus the District of Columbia have laws that protect gay people from employment discrimination. Wisconsin is one of them.
The attorney said that "outing" the candidate to the other employee was "not necessarily illegal," but that it was "definitely a bad business practice."
In the 21 states that offer protection for gay people, a prospective employer cannot base a hiring decision on how comfortable someone is with the candidate's sexual orientation, or the perception that a co-worker or customer might be uncomfortable with a gay person. That is discrimination, and it is illegal.