LGBT Discrimination: Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Provide Protection Above and Beyond State and Federal Law

scales-of-justiceWhen people think of discrimination in the workplace, the first thing that usually comes to mind is race, sex or disabilities. And there is a reason for that: those are the most common forms of discrimination and there are plenty of laws protecting those categories. However, what is less known, is that in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh there is legal protection, in the workplace, for members of the LGBT community. So if you are being
discriminated against because of your sexual orientation, there are laws that will protect you and it may be worth it for you to take action.

Current State of Sexual Orientation and LGBT Protection Laws

Most discrimination lawsuits in the United States stem from federal law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII.”) Title VII protects many categories of people, including race, sex, religion, and national origin. But Title VII does not protect individuals from employment discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, and neither does any federal law currently on the books. Thus, it is up to the states to pass laws protecting this category.

Allegheny County and Pittsburgh

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has not passed any laws protecting the LGBT community from employment discrimination. Luckily, many local municipalities have stepped up to the plate and have passed laws protecting LGBT people. Pittsburgh was one of the first states in Pennsylvania to pass a law with sexual orientation protection. Pittsburgh passed its first city ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination in 1992 and in 2005 the city amended the statute. Thus, if you live or work within the boundaries of the City of Pittsburgh, you have LGBT protection in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations. The same type of protections exists in Allegheny County, with the County passing its sexual orientation non-discrimination ordinance in 2009.

One important distinction to remember though: just because you live within the boundaries of the city or county, you may not be able to use the laws if you work outside of those boundaries. Whether or not the city or county has jurisdiction over employers or workplaces that are located outside of their borders, yet hire people who live within those borders, is a complicated legal issue that can change on a case-to-case basis. Thus, if you are unsure about whether or not you receive those protections, contact Pometto Law today for a free consultation and case specific analysis.


Many people are unaware of the laws that protect the LGBT community from discrimination. This state of affairs exists because there is no protection on the federal level, and in the case of Pennsylvania, there is no protection on the state level. This does not mean that protection does not exist. The laws within Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh protect individuals based on their sexual orientation. So if you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, or in housing and public accommodations, contact Pometto Law today and we will analyze your case and help you win it.

Joe Pometto