Employment Non-Discrimination Bill: Will It Pass This Time Around?

By Eric B. Meyer

“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, period” – Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR.

Last week, Sen. 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 bill has has bipartisan sponsorship in the House.

Will it pass this time around?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 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 percent of Fortune 100 companies include sexual orientation and 82 percent include gender identity in their corporate nondiscrimination policies. Nearly 200 municipalities also have similar laws in place.

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Many are optimistic that Congress can get ENDA to the President this time around.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.


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