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NFL questioned on sexual orientation discrimination

A state attorney general sent a strongly worded letter to the Commissioner of the National Football League, asking for answers and reassurance after allegations surfaced that the league's recruiters were discrimination against players who may be gay.

Sexual orientation discrimination is not illegal in federal law or in all 50 states, but select states have passed discrimination protection for LGBT employees. Since the National Football League operates nationwide, some teams are subject to these anti-discrimination measures.

According to recent reports, some potential recruits who appeared at a skills audition for the NFL said that league employees were asking questions about their relationships, marital status, and gender preference. These types of questions are typically considered to be overly invasive if nothing else, but also may be evidence of a move to weed out potential players who are gay or bisexual.

One player told reporters that the questions made him very uncomfortable and that he was surprised that the person asking them was doing it with such nonchalance, indicating perhaps that the questioner was used to making these sorts of inquiries.

The National Football League issued a statement saying that they abide by all relevant state and federal laws and that they do not discriminate based on sexual orientation. Still, many football fans remain skeptical of the tradition-oriented institution that is American football.

Employees who have faced discrimination in the hiring process have a right to seek answers and justice from employers who acted unlawfully in refusing to hire someone based on their race, gender, nationality, religion, age, disability status, or ethnicity.

Source: CNN, "New York pushes NFL on discrimination due to sexual orientation," March 14, 2013.

Information about sexual orientation discrimination in Pennsylvania is available on our employment law website.

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