Discrimination is just plain wrong. It is
shocking that there is still anywhere in America where it is legal to fire
someone for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Americans understand
that it's time to make sure our LGBT friends and family are treated fairly and
have the same opportunities as all Americans. Now it's time for our laws to
catch up. People should be judged at work on their ability to do the job,
-- Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Last week, Senator Merkley together with Senators Mark
Kirk (R-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI),
reintroduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). (The same version
of ENDA has bipartisan sponsorship in the House as well).
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act currently makes it
unlawful for employers to engage in sexual stereotyping. ENDA, which has been
introduced in every session of Congress save one since 1994, would expressly
prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against
those employed or seeking employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual
sexual orientation or gender identity.
And while Congress has blown several opportunities to
pass ENDA, it's worth noting that, 93% of Fortune 100 companies include sexual
orientation and 82% include gender identity in their corporate
nondiscrimination policies. Nearly 200 municipalities also have similar laws in place.
Many are optimistic that Congress can get ENDA to the
President this time around.
This article was originally published on Eric B. Meyer's blog, The Employer
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