Delaware Adds Sexual Orientation to List of Protected Characteristics

e-lert_logoDelaware’s anti-discrimination laws have been amended to include
sexual orientation as a protected class.

S.B. 121 passed the General Assembly on June 24, 2009, and was signed by Gov. Markell on July 2, 2009.  The law took effect immediately.

Additional Key Information

  • Sexual orientation is defined exclusively to mean “heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.”
  • Religious organizations are exempted from the law.
  • The law does not require employers to offer health, welfare, pension, or other benefits to domestic partners to the extent offered to spouses of married employees.

Employee Handbook Update
Handbooks should be updated to reflect the new law.  Manuals now should also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Please contact any of the attorneys in our Employment Law Department to learn how this new law may affect other policies in your organization or with any other employment-related questions.