Out & Equal Workplace Advocates applauds lawmakers' introduction today of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from workplace discrimination.
Known as ENDA, the bill, which enjoys bi-partisan support in Congress, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal employment non-discrimination laws, making it illegal to treat LGBT people unfairly.
"This is very welcome news," says Out & Equal Executive Director Selisse Berry. "Out & Equal has worked tirelessly for more than a decade to assure that the nation's leading corporations provide policies and protections for its LGBT employees in the absence of federal protections. The federal government is now poised to do what major corporations have been doing for years -- protecting employees from discrimination."
As it stands, a staggering 98 percent of the United States' largest companies have added sexual orientation to their equal employment opportunity policies, with 60 percent of them including gender identity and expression. In addition, more than half of Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partnership benefits.
"We all know that not every workplace is an out and equal workplace, and not everyone feels comfortable coming out at work, and there's a reason for that -- a lack of legal protections," says Berry. "We are all hoping that a fully inclusive ENDA will soon be signed into law, providing the essential legal framework that will protect all of us."
Berry says, "We are close to realizing the workplace protections we have worked diligently to achieve. I strongly encourage that everyone writes to their Congressional delegates to show their support for ENDA. With everyone's help, we can play an integral role in the movement that countless people before us fought to achieve and we can now secure by encouraging our lawmakers to vote for workplace equality."