Senate committee approves ENDA for LGBT workers’ rights

We established this blog to discuss employment law issues that are relevant to New Yorkers. Whether it’s a case of harassment, workplace discrimination, retaliation, wrongful firing or a wage dispute, we’ll be covering stories that we hope you find interesting.

Some employment-related national news was recently announced pertaining to the rights of LGBT workers. While the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, otherwise known as ENDA, may still have a ways to go before being passed into law, there was good news from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The committee passed ENDA with a 15-7 vote, meaning the majority of senators supported a federal ban on workplace discrimination against individuals based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

To put the decision in perspective, it’s helpful to consider that ENDA has been proposed in previous congressional hearings, but the bill has not received a vote on the Senate or House floors since late 2007.

There are currently federal bans on workplace discrimination against employees based on their race, sex, age, religion, nation of origin and disability, but no federal law specifically bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Already, 17 states have implemented such a ban, but that leaves 33 others that haven’t. In other words, in those states, people might legally be harassed, denied a promotion or even have their employment terminated because of their gay, lesbian or transgender status.

That does not mean, however, that a civil claim of discrimination is not an option in those situations.

If you would like to learn more about federal and state employment laws, please visit our sex and gender discrimination site. And check back each week for more updates; we’ll be updating this blog frequently.

Source: Huffington Post, “Employment Non-Discrimination Act Passes Senate Committee,” Jennifer Bendery, July 10, 2013

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