HRC Blog

Coming Soon: Inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to be Introduced in U.S. House

As Americans struggle to recover from one of the worst economic recessions in our nation’s history, it’s important to remember that the risk of losing a job can be far greater for LGBT people.  However, this week we will see an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) introduced which would create federal protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The bill is a critical piece of our economic empowerment agenda for the LGBT community, as detailed in a new memo on federal LGBT legislation.

As HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a press release today: “All Americans worry about their economic future, but LGBT Americans’ anxieties are exacerbated when they can be fired for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender identity. Passing ENDA is a key element of making sure all Americans can get back to work and get our country moving again.”

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  Currently such protections exist in only 21 states and DC for sexual orientation and 12 states and DC for gender identity.

HRC’s new memo, “Federal LGBT Legislation: An Economic Empowerment Agenda,” details several legislative proposals to put LGBT Americans on the same footing as everyone else.  In addition to ENDA, a number of bills aim to extend benefits to families currently disadvantaged because their relationships are not recognized.  These include the Respect for Marriage Act, the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act, the Uniting American Families Act, the Equal Access to COBRA Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act.

The memo also details efforts to ensure that schools are safe for all students to be prepared to contribute to our economy.  In the 112th Congress there are two legislative solutions (the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act), as well as administrative actions, that can address the problem of bullying, harassment and discrimination against LGBT students.

Learn more about what HRC is doing to improve workplace safety and security and what you can do to help advocate for change in your place of business.

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