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State Rep. Eric Johnson Files Employment Nondiscrimination Bill

HB 850 would offer job security to all LGBTQ Texans.

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Rep. Eric Johnson.

State Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) has filed a statewide bill that would protect LGBTQ people from employment discrimination.

Johnson filed HB 850 on Wednesday, Jan. 16. The measure would add sexual orientation and gender-identity protections to State law, which currently protects Texas citizens from discrimination based only on race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, or age.

According to the Texas Tribune, Johnson has filed similar bills in Texas every session since 2011. In 2017, a bill narrowly passed through a House committee but never got a vote in the full chamber.

“State law already protects workers from discrimination based on things like religion,” Johnson told the Texas Tribune in May. “If someone can’t be fired because of where they worship, then they shouldn’t be able to be fired because of who they love or how they identify.”

Only five cities––Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Plano, and Fort Worth––have nondiscrimination ordinances that offer similar protections to HB 850 at the local level. Houston only offers LGBTQ protections to City employees. Johnson’s bill would offer job security to all queer Texans.

While HB 850 focuses entirely on LGBTQ protections in the workplace, several bills have been filed that offer further protections to queer Texans, Out In SA reports.

Check out a list of pro-LGBTQ bills filed by Texas Democrats here.

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is the managing editor of OutSmart magazine.

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