Workplace Discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders is legal in 30 states; transgender discrimination is legal in several other states and is particularly problematic. LGBT discrimination extends to areas where other groups have protection such as in housing, finance, public accommodations and shared facilities. Also, non-discrimination legislation is need in federally funded programs or activities. Check the details...
BEYOND WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAYS AND LESBIANS
Like other discriminated groups, the LGBTQ population needs protections against discrimination not only in employment, but also in housing, finance, and public accommodations. All of these protections need to specifically cover transgenders, since they are a severely discriminated group in America.
STATUS OF ENDA IN CURRENT CONGRESS
A trans-inclusive ENDA was introduced in the US House of Representatives on June 24, 2009.
RECENT HISTORY OF
ENDA IN CONGRESS
The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) has been introduced in Congress many times, but it has not ever been voted on.
In April 2007, Congressman Barney Frank introduced ENDA (HR 2015) which protected for the first time against workplace discrimination due to real or perceived gender identity. This was the first time that such legislation covered transgender people as well as many others who may not always act fitting their gender stereotypes.
Since there were not enough votes to pass it, Barney Frank introduced two substitute bills in September 2007: (1) HR 3685, which protects sexual orientation but not gender identity, and (2) HR 3686 ( GENDA) that covers gender identity and expression.
Frank's actions created a significant debate in the LGBTQ community among those who believe in providing protections for gay and lesbian employees and those who did not want to leave transgender employees behind. Eventually, this translated into the creation of UnitedENDA.org which represents more than 368 organizations, including eQualityGiving. HRC claimed a position of neither supporting nor opposing the trans-exclusive ENDA.
On November 7, 2007, ENDA (HR 3685), not covering transgender discrimination, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 235 to 184. It is the first time that such legislation passes one of the Houses in Congress.
President Obama supports a transgender inclusive ENDA and there were expectations that such legislation should have been approved by Congress in the Fall of 2009.
BEYOND TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION
As analyzed by the top legal LGBTQ organizations, excluding gender identity from workplace discrimination laws not only affects transgender people, but also gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who could be fired for being “too masculine,” “too effeminate,” or for displaying any other gender non-conforming characteristic.
LACK OF PROTECTIONS IN THE STATES
- Only in 15 states (and the District of Columbia) it is illegal to fire gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgenders for solely that reason
- In 6 additional states it is illegal to fire gays, lesbians, or bisexuals, but it is legal to fire transgenders. This leaves:
- In 35 states it is perfectly legal to fire somebody solely for being transgender
- In 29 states it is perfectly legal to fire somebody solely for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual
In addition to the efforts to lobby Congress, several organizations have projects aimed at increasing the number of companies that offer protection for GLBT employees.
- HRC compiles the Corporate Equality Index showing an unprecedented 195 major U.S. businesses earned the top
rating of 100 percent on their
treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees,
consumers and investors.
- Equality Forum has the Fortune 500 Non Discrimination Project showing that 470 of the Fortune 500 provide non discrimination protection to their gay and lesbian employees.
NON DISCRIMINATION IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13087 which protected federal government employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. This order also covered federal employees of the District of Columbia as well as the United States Postal Services, but did not cover members of the Armed Forces, CIA, FBI, and NSA.
The head of the Office of Special Counsel during the presidency of G.W. Bush, Scott Bloch, refused to enforce these longstanding non-discrimination protections and president George W. Bush did not required him to do so, despite that such disregard was widely publicized.
On December 19, 2007, the Domestic Partnership Benefit and Obligations Act (DPBO) was introduced in Congress to end workplace discrimination in the workplace. Ambassador Michael Guest discusses ending workplace discrimination in the Federal Government.
WHAT TO DO
This legislation needs more than anything else each of us contacting members of Congress and asking for it to pass, including transgender protections as well as housing, public accommodations, and finance.