The Boy Scouts of America has recently come under fire after the New York attorney general’s office opened an inquiry as to whether the group discriminated against gays in their hiring practices. The inquiry stems from a national board ruling which excludes gay Boy Scout leaders 18 years of age or older. Previously, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Boy Scouts have a constitutional right to exclude gays.
Currently, the Boy Scouts allows scouts who are openly gay and are under 18 into their organization, but will not accept gay adult scouts. As the current Boy Scout policy stands, an adult cannot be considered for any position unless he is an adult member of the scouts, and since adult gays are not allowed membership, they cannot apply for any position.
The decision contradicts state employment laws that protect employees from discrimination based on the worker’s sexual orientation. According to the attorney general’s civil rights bureau, the group’s policy may violate the state law requiring that entities that operate in or are registered to do business in the State of New York comply with anti-discrimination requirements. There currently are 16 local Boy Scout councils in the state of New York that may fall under these criteria.
It is important that employees are treated equally during both the hiring process and during the course of employment. Laws against employment discrimination are in place to help employees receive fair and equal rights during all phases of employment, from the hiring process, to employment, to being fired for reasons other than discrimination.
Source: The New York Times, “New York Investigates Whether Boy Scouts’ Employment Practices Discriminated Against Gays“, James Barron, accessed Apr. 28, 2015