Senate Passes Law Banning Gay and Transgendered Employee Discrimination
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act recently received approval in the Senate with a 64 to 32 vote. The bill, also known as ENDA, is written to provide federal protections against gay and transgendered workplace discrimination.
Laws like ENDA are facing criticism. Opponents voiced concerns with the Washington Post that the law would “diminish” employers’ right to exercise religious freedom. The Post also noted that gay men and lesbians have fought for these protections for almost twenty years. The Senate’s current approval is a sign of the shift in public opinion that has lead many states to already enact similar laws at a more local level.
The approval comes at a time when more and more states are recognizing gay rights. Twenty-one states throughout the country and the District of Columbia have laws in place prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation within the workplace.
Details of ENDA
ENDA is designed to provide additional protections at the federal level. The law specifically prohibits discrimination on both actual and perceived sexual orientation or gender identities. The law would apply to employers, employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor management committees. It also prohibits any retaliatory acts in connection to a disparate treatment claim.
It is important to note the law would not apply to religious organizations. The law also states that it does not prohibit an employer from requiring a dress code or grooming standards within the workplace.
New York state law and protections for gay and transgendered discrimination
On a more local level, both New York state and New York City prohibit employers from employment discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation. The New York City Bar Association, a group of legal experts, notes that New York State and New York City’s Human Rights Laws apply to employers with more than four employees. These employers cannot make decisions to hire, fire or promote based on the employee’s sexual orientation. The employer also cannot make training and compensation decisions based on sexual orientation.
New York City law also includes protections for legal issues arising based on gender identity. This expands the law’s protections to those who are transgendered.
If you are the victim of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, remedies may be available. Contact an experienced New York gay and lesbian discrimination attorney to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights and potential remedies are protected.
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