The Employment Non-Discrimination Act
The battle to make workplace discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation illegal on the federal level continues to be waged. The federal government currently classifies certain groups as “protected,” meaning that it is against the law to discriminate them in the workplace. However, the LGBTQ population is not counted among them. As a result, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was created to address this omission in the federal law. If passed, ENDA would make sexual orientation an illegal reason to discriminate against someone in all matters related to employment, in addition to race, gender, national origin and disability.
Workplace protections for the LGBTQ population have existed in a number of states throughout the nation since 1982, with ENDA first introduced in the 103rd Congress in 1994. While federal legislation has not yet been granted, bipartisan support exists for the Act and it has the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, which views ENDA as “… an essential part of equal protection under the law.” The passage of ENDA would signify the legitimacy of the LGBTQ community as deserving of the same civil rights and liberties as every other protected class in the nation’s workforce.