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Are LGBTQ+ individuals protected from discrimination?

Though there are some limited federal executive orders in place to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, there is no comprehensive federal legislation that clearly defines LGBTQ+ discrimination as unlawful. Civil rights for LGBTQ+ individuals will vary by state and municipality. There are specific instances that allow protection for some individuals from discrimination. The local laws that are in place-- which prohibit discrimination in Employment, Public Accommodation, and Housing-- can offer limited protection, on a case-by-case basis.

The City of Omaha’s Municipal Code Chapter 13 specifically prohibits discrimination in:

Employment based on:

  • Gender Identity
  • Sex 
  • Sexual Orientation

Public Accommodation based on:

  • Gender Identity
  • Sex 
  • Sexual Orientation

Housing based on:

  • Sex*

General  Definitions: 

(Chapter 13, Section 13-81)

Gender Identity is defined as: “The actual or perceived appearance, expression, identity or behavior of a person as being male or female, whether or not that appearance, expression, identity or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s designated sex at birth.”

Sex is defined as: “The state of being either male or female.”

Sexual Orientation is defined as: “Actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.”


(Section 13-89) Prohibits unfair or unequal treatment in employment practices and policies, including:

  • Advertising for a job
  • Hiring Practices (applications, interviews, selection criteria)
  • Referrals by Employment Agencies
  • Salary, Job Classification, Work Duties, Working Conditions
  • Demotions, Suspensions, Layoffs, Recalls or Terminations

What are some examples of Employment Discrimination?

  • An application that requires an individual to reveal their sexual orientation.
  • A job posting that specifies a sex requirement, “Now Hiring -- Females need not Apply”.
  • Being terminated based on gender non-conformity -- requiring women to wear attire traditionally associated with femininity, like skirts and makeup.

Authorized Exceptions: 

(Chapter 13, Section 97)

Religious Organizations:

(A) Provisions relating to unlawful practices based on sexual orientation and gender identity do not apply to any religious organization with respect to its employment of individuals to perform work connected with the carrying on by such religious organization of its religious activity.

(B) Provisions relating to unlawful practices based on sexual orientation and gender identity do not apply to any school, college, university or other educational institution if that school, college, university or other educational institution is, in whole or substantial part, owned, supported, controlled or managed by a particular religion or by a particular religious institution and if the curriculum of the school, college, university or other educational institution is directed toward the propagation of a particular religion and the choice of employees is necessary to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained. 

Public Accommodation: 

Section 13-84 makes it illegal to either deny a person access or to treat them unequally in a place of Public Accommodation, including:

  • Hotels, Motels, Inns
  • Bars and Nightclubs
  • Museums, Theaters, Stadiums
  • Parks, Campsites, Swimming Pools
  • Hospitals, Mortuaries, Dentists

What are some examples of Public Accommodation discrimination?

  • You are breastfeeding while grocery shopping and are told to leave.
  • A store gives discounts to people of another perceived gender but you still have to pay full price
  • You are refused service at a hospital because you are (or are regarded as) HIV-positive.

Authorized Exceptions: 

(Chapter 13, Sections 13-85/86)

Religious Preference: Provisions concerning discriminatory practices that relate to sexual orientation and gender identity shall not apply to any place of public accommodation owned by or operated on behalf of a religious organization.

Separate Facilities: The law does not apply to the provisions of separate facilities for females and males to protect their personal rights of privacy (such as restrooms, locker rooms, or fitting rooms).


Section 13-300 defines housing as any unit of real property which is used or occupied, or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as the home or residence of one or more individuals including:

  • Apartments and Condominiums
  • Mobile Homes and Trailer Courts
  • Vacant Land, Commercial Properties, Private Homes

“The Fair Housing Act does not specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected bases. However, discrimination against a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person may be covered by the Fair Housing Act if it is based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes.”

The Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department enforces the Municipal Code and various federal civil rights laws. The Department investigates complaints in the areas of:

Public Accommodations:

This prohibits discrimination because of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, age, disability, marital status, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity*, and sexual orientation* in certain places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, and places of entertainment.


This makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, age, disability, marital status, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity*, and sexual orientation*.


This protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing. The prohibitions specifically cover discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children under the age of 18.

*Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity may be protected under the basis of Sex. Contact OHRRD for more information.

If you would like to file a complaint, you may:

Call us at:

Phone: 402-444-5055
Fax: 402-444-5058
TTY: 402-444-5031

Visit us at:

Omaha Douglas Civic Center
1819 Farnam St., Suite 502
Omaha, Nebraska 68183

Connect with us online at:


Fairness shouldn't be a fairy tail. Discrimination happens don't ignore it. Call 402-444-5055