As part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, an anonymous reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Will the university endorse LB627, a bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Nebraska?”
This past legislative session, Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks presented a bill, LB627, to the Nebraska Unicameral to prohibit workplace discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. Due to a lack of votes, the bill will be put aside for the remainder of this year’s session.
The bill would make it illegal for employers with 15 or more workers to discriminate against an individual based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the workplace on a federal level, states are still allowed to tailor discrimination policies if there is support from constituents.
Nebraska’s current civil rights laws protect individuals from discrimination of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and marital status. However, the laws do not protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to Leslie Reed, the director of Public Affairs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University has not taken an official stance in support or opposition of LB627.
"The University of Nebraska hasn't taken a formal position on LB627, but our existing policies mirror the language proposed in the bill,” Reed said. “Even if the measure doesn't pass this year, our nondiscrimination policies won't change.”
UNL’s nondiscrimination statement prohibits the mistreatment of anyone under any protected status which includes race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity and marital status.