HRC Blog

Pass ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) NOW!

End Workplace Discrimination

Written by Michael Glorioso HRC New Orleans Steering committee Co-chair and Outreach Subcommittee Co-chair

In the 30 plus years that I have been in the workplace, I have been fortunate to work for
some great companies that respect the diversity of people and their employees. But did
you know that in 29 states, it’s still legal to fire someone solely because they’re lesbian,
gay, or bisexual; in 34 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender.
Thousands of hardworking lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have lost
their livelihoods simply because of who they are. And millions more go to work every
day facing that threat. It’s time to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation and gender identity.

Qualified, hardworking Americans are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise
discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
There is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment
discrimination. As a result, LGBT people face serious discrimination in employment,
including being fired, being denied a promotion and experiencing harassment on the job.

 

What ENDA Does

• Extends federal employment discrimination protections currently
provided based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability to
sexual orientation and gender identity

• Prohibits public and private employers, employment agencies and labor
unions from using an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity as
the basis for employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotion or
compensation

• Provides for the same procedures, and similar, but somewhat more
limited, remedies as are permitted under Title VII and the Americans with
Disabilities Act

• Applies to Congress and the federal government, as well as employees of
state and local governments

 

What ENDA Does Not Do

• Cover businesses with fewer than 15 employees

• Apply to religious organizations

• Allow for quotas or preferential treatment based on sexual orientation or
gender identity

• Allow a "disparate impact" claim similar to the one available under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Therefore, an employer is not required
to justify a neutral practice that may have a statistically disparate impact on individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity

• Allow the imposition of affirmative action for a violation of ENDA

• Allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect
statistics on sexual orientation or gender identity or compel employers to
collect such statistics

• Apply retroactively

 

Where Are We Today

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting
employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 16 states and D.C. also
prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. While these laws provide important
protections, according to a 2009 General Accounting Office (GAO) report, relatively few
complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation have been filed in these states.

Hundreds of companies have enacted policies protecting their lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender employees. As of 2010, 87 percent of the Fortune 500 companies had
implemented non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 46 percent
had policies that include gender identity.

The company that I currently work for, Cox Communications is one of these companies
that have implemented non-discrimination policies that include both sexual orientation
and gender identity. At Cox, we truly respect the collective differences of our
employees; in fact we view this as a core success factor that provides us a competitive
edge.

 

How Can You Help

We can all help by acting NOW! Contract your legislator and/or congressperson and
let them know that now is the time to end workplace discrimination - PASS ENDA!
In addition, in your workplace you can let your Human Resources/People Services
department know that workplace discrimination is not productive to the organization.
You can also get involved in your local communities with LGBT organizations, like
HRC, and join the fight for equality.

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