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HRC Calls on Senate to Advance LGBT Workplace Protections

Senate HELP Committee Should Hold Hearing

05/10/2012

Washington – A bipartisan group of Senators today wrote to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY) calling on them to hold a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), S.811.  The Human Rights Campaign – the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today joined in their call.

“What matters in the workplace is how you do your job but unfortunately no federal law bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We encourage the Senate HELP Committee to schedule a hearing on this critical bill.”

Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Robert Casey (D-PA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) wrote to Harkin and Enzi stating: “ENDA embodies the American ideal of fairness: employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace, and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“We thank Senators Merkley, Kirk, Casey and Collins for their leadership on fair workplaces,” added Solmonese.  “Chairman Harkin has been a tremendous leader on equality issues for years and a longtime cosponsor of ENDA and we look forward to working with him to advance protections for the LGBT community.”

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 16 states and DC for gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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