Employment Non-Discrimination Act Gains Momentum
06/18/2012 // San Francisco, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Eric Grover Bay Area employment lawyer // (press release)
Washington, D.C.—Although the LGBT community has made great strides in acquiring rights with regard to military service and marriage in some states, having protection in the workplace is one goal that still needs to be achieved, reports Eric Grover, a Bay Area employment lawyer at Keller Grover LLP.
Currently in 29 states, it is still legal to fire or deny promotions to gay workers based on their sexual orientation. But, four senators– Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Susan Collins, R-Maine—have requested a hearing on a bill that will provide gay workers protection in the workplace.
“Employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace, and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity. While some states prohibit public and private employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, recent studies have found evidence of continued widespread employment discrimination against LGBT people,” the senators wrote, as the Kansas City Star reveals.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced in 1994 and was approved by the House of Representatives, but the Senate never moved forward with the bill.
Under ENDA, businesses with less than 15 employees or religious institutions would not have to follow the legislation. The bill would not require businesses to offer equal benefits to gay couples; but would offer protection to transgender workers as well.
A Public Religion Research Institute poll last year revealed that 71 percent of Americans favor laws that protect gay couples against job discrimination. But, not everyone supports ENDA. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, K-Ky., believes that the legislation would increase costs for businesses and lead more workers to sue their employers.
“Although there are anti-discrimination policies in place, there is nothing that directly protects gay workers and provides a legal recourse for these workers, explains Eric Grover, a San Francisco employment attorney. “There needs to be a federal standard put in place in order to implement a clear and equitable guideline for employers.”
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