Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), is a proposed federal law that would prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Sexual orientation discrimination currently is not explicitly prohibited under federal law. But just because it is not currently a protected class under federal law that doesn’t mean employers don’t need to be concerned about sexual orientation or gender-identity discrimination.
State-by-state comparison of 50 employment laws in all 50 states, including sexual orientation discrimination
Certain states have enacted discrimination laws that apply to homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual individuals. In some states, sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited only in certain municipalities. There have also been attempts to provide discrimination protections through court cases interpreting existing sex discrimination laws.
A version of ENDA was introduced again in both the House and Senate during the 113th Congress. While the Senate approved the bill on November 7, 2013, 64–32, the House didn’t take a vote. President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the legislation, so if it passes the House, it’s highly probable that the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be passed. Bills prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination have been proposed in the past in Congress but have not been passed.
HR Guide to Employment Law: A practical compliance reference manual covering 14 topics, including discrimination
In past bills banning sexual orientation discrimination, the U.S. House of Representatives has included a section prohibiting discrimination based on “perceived” sexual orientation. That clause would permit a claim if an employee could prove that he was discriminated against because of another person’s perception about him (i.e., being homosexual) even if the perception is wrong.
The bills proposed in the House of Representatives also extend discrimination prohibitions to any individual based on his or her association with another individual based on that other person’s actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. In other words, a claim could be made that an employee was discriminated against because he was friends with, worked closely with, or was related to a homosexual (or even heterosexual).
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