Employment Non-Discrimination Act is reintroduced in U.S. Senate

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds today’s U.S. Senate reintroduction of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The measure was introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force staff was on hand for today’s press conference announcing the bill’s introduction. The Task Force was the first national organization to advocate for federal nondiscrimination protections when it worked with then-U.S. Reps. Bella Abzug and Ed Koch to introduce a sweeping bill in 1974. It has played a leading role in ensuring ENDA is explicitly inclusive of transgender people.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality recently released Injustice at Every Turn, which reveals the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. The study is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date. According to Injustice at Every Turn, respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment in the workplace, and one in four reported being fired because of their gender identity or expression.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey says:

An overwhelming majority of Americans know it is wrong to deprive their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends, family and neighbors of the ability to earn a livelihood and provide for their families simply because of who they are. They know our entire country benefits when all people are allowed to contribute their talents and skills free from discrimination. ENDA will simply help ensure everyone is allowed to participate on a level playing field in the workplace, a core value of this nation. Let’s get ENDA passed. Our community has provided statistics and shared personal stories; we’ve seen LGBT workers lose their foothold in a struggling economy, not because of downsizing or poor performance, but solely because of prejudice. Our country can and must do better. We thank Senators Merkley, Kirk, Harkin and Collins for reintroducing this critical legislation, and urge Congress and the administration to work toward its passage.

Take a stand against job discrimination – write your senators and urge them to co-sponsor ENDA.