Employment Non Discrimination Act
What is ENDA?
- ENDA Defined: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a federal bill that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. ENDA would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote an employee simply based on that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Model Legislation with Exemptions: ENDA models existing federal civil rights legislation, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ENDA would cover private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as federal, state, and local governments, unions, and employment agencies. The U.S. military and certain religious organizations would be exempt. Quotas, disparate impact claims, and domestic partner benefits would not be permitted.
- Terms Defined: Sexual orientation is “homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.” Gender identity is the “the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
Why is ENDA Necessary?
- At-Risk Population: The U.S. workforce contains approximately 5.4 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) workers. LGBTQ people face high risks of job discrimination with no adequate remedy under federal law. The LGBTQ community is already at higher risk for poverty than the non-LGBTQ community.
- Discrimination Legal: Only 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws that specifically ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Another three have laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation only. This patchwork of laws is inadequate to prevent and remedy the serious discrimination against LGBTQ employees that takes place across the county.
- Zero Federal Protection: There is no federal law that explicitly protects people from job discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
How does ENDA impact families?
- Parents and Children: 3 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBTQ) Americans have had a child and as many as 6 million American children and adults have an LGBTQ parent. Many LGBTQ families live in Southern and Midwestern states, where they have limited or no protections from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Economic Stability: At the foundation of every happy, healthy family is economic security – the ability to earn a living and the economic stability to provide for a dependent partner and children. ENDA ensures that families can continue to provide for each other without fear of discrimination.
- Symbolic Value: Children of LGBTQ parents should not grow up feeling that their country does not value the economic stability and success of their parents and their families. America has a long tradition of valuing and protecting individuals and families for the contributions they make to the workforce, through such laws as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Who supports ENDA?
- Best Business Practice: Many of America’s top businesses understand that an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity has nothing to do with his or her job performance. 91% of Fortune 500 companies include employment protections for employees based on sexual orientation, and 61% based on an employee’s gender identity. Of small businesses, 62% already have policies against gender identity discrimination and 69% already have policies against sexual orientation discrimination.
- State/Local Government Leadership: Federal law has been outpaced by the actions of state and local leaders. More than 40% of the country - including 18 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 100 cities and counties - has passed workplace protections for the LGBTQ community.
- Public Opinion Polls: Recent national surveys show that 63% of Americans believe it should be illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment. Unfortunately, 87% of Americans believe that federal protections against LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace already exist and that it is already illegal to fire an employee simply for being LGBTQ.