Houston is one of the few major cities in the country without a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  Neither federal nor Texas law includes such a protected category, however, other Texas cities such as Austin and Dallas have city ordinances with such protections. 

This week, Houston Mayor Anise Parker proposed a city ordinance which would outlaw discrimination on the basis numerous protected categories, including race, sex, religion, age etc.  The difference between the proposed ordinance and existing laws is that sexual orientation and gender identity are also included as protected classifications. For more background on the proposed ordinance, please see the write up from the Houston Chronicle.

This ordinance will be put to a vote by city council next month and would not apply to employers with less than 50 employees. It would apply to all private businesses, however, religious institutions would be exempt. If passed, there will be a lot of Houston employers who will need to update their employee handbook…