Today, people are free to have their own sexual orientation or preference. However, there is still no federal law that will protect gays, lesbians, transgenders, and bisexuals against employment discrimination. Although some states like California already prohibits it, many states have not yet passed a law that will cover the issue.
The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a bill that may finally end the suffering of these people. It was drafted in the hope of providing basic protection to employees against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
ENDA of 2007, which is also known as H.R. 2015, was introduced by Congressman Barney Frank in the House of Representatives in 2008. If approved by the Congress and President Barack Obama, it will monitor employers who have around 15 workers and are involved in interstate commerce.
It was closely patterned on different laws like Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on the basis of an employee or applicant's age, race, sex, religion, disability, and national origin.
Here are some of the goals of ENDA:
- Prohibit discrimination on the basis of an applicant or employee's gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Provide similar procedures but limited solutions, which are allowed under ADA and Title VII.
- Prohibit private and public employers, labor unions, and employment agencies to use a person's gender identity or sexual orientation when making different employment decisions like hiring, compensation, and promotion.
In addition, it prohibits covered employers from performing discrimination against a person who has opposed to unjust practices that were made in violation of this law or testified, filed a charge, participated, or assisted in an ongoing hearing, proceeding, or investigation under it.
Meanwhile, ENDA does not cover the following:
- Armed forces - This law does not affect the relationship between the armed forces and the United States. Armed forces include the Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and the Army.
- Religious organizations - It is not applicable to an association, educational institution, corporation, or society exempted from Title VII's provisions on religious discrimination.
- Employee benefits provided to married couples- It prohibits all covered employers from treating unmarried couples like legally married couples when it comes to employee benefits.
- Statistics -The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is not allowed to gather statistics on perceived or actual gender identity or sexual orientation from covered employers. In addition, such commission cannot require covered employers to collect these statistics.