Employment laws in the US provide prohibitions regarding discrimination on the basis of gender. However, most or probably all of it are focused only on men and women employees. But the workforce is not only made of two genders nowadays. The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) community has always been a part of the working class, but this group of people has also been victims of discrimination in the workplace. With their community growing in number every day, their protest for more laws that benefit their class is also getting more supporters, even from other genders.
One of the bills that can probably benefit the LGBT workers is the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA). This bill aims to end discrimination against all gender or sexual orientation, and that includes the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals. There are no federal laws yet that protects this group of people, that's why it is still considered legal to discriminate the LGBTs in most states. The ENDA can put a stop to such actions once and for all, thus giving more focus to the employee's skill and job performance rather than their gender. The Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act are the basis for ENDA.
Even if there are no federal laws concerning discrimination against LGBTs, there are several state provisions that protect these people from discriminatory acts. Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, and New York are just some of the states that legislated and mandated laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Five more states currently have an administrative and executive order regarding the issue.
Provisions under ENDA include:
- Federal employment protection based on race, religion, nationality, color, age, disability, and gender or sexual orientation.
- Public and private employers, employment agencies, and labor unions are prohibited from making decisions about an employee based on his gender or sexual orientation.
ENDA is applicable to institutions that have more than 15 employees, federal, state, and local government, labor unions, and employment agencies. However, there are a few exemptions to the law. Companies that have less than 15 employees or small businesses, the Armed Forces, and religious organizations are not covered under ENDA.
Sadly, ENDA is still a bill and not yet an approved law. It was introduced during the 103rd and 109th to 111th Congress and committee hearings regarding the bill have taken place. Current US President Barack Obama is a known supporter of the bill.