NOVEMBER 19, 2013
Last week, the United States Senate voted 64 to 32 to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (“ENDA”), which seeks to protect gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace. Under ENDA, employers with at least 15 employees would be prohibited from discriminating against job applicants and employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The law would also prohibit covered employers from retaliating against job applicants or employees because such individuals oppose the employers’ practice of discriminating against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Supporters of ENDA cheered the Senate’s passage of the bill – which was originally proposed in Congress in 1994 – as an historic development in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender) movement. Other groups have opposed ENDA, claiming that the bill will have an adverse impact on free speech and religious liberty, and will subject employers to frivolous litigation.
The bill will now be sent to the United States House of Representatives for consideration. If passed, President Obama is expected to sign it into law.
We will continue to provide timely updates regarding this important bill as it moves through Congress.