The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009—Ensuring Equality in the Workplace for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Workers

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For 29 States in the US, it is legal to fire an employee for being gay, lesbian or bisexual. 38 States in the Union have no laws on record preventing discrimination against gender identity or expression—commonly known as transgender. While these statistics may be disheartening for many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) individuals, it is not all doom and gloom. Employment protections and rights for GLBTs have grown exponentially in the past two decades.
Fortune 500 companies have helped lead the charge for securing equality for gays and lesbians in the workplace. In 2009, more than 85% of Fortune 500 firms had sexual orientation as part of their anti-discrimination policies compared to 51% in 2000. While Fortune 500
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As a result of the credit crisis and the healthcare legislation, ENDA has languished in committee to the consternation of many GLBTs.
What The Employment Non-Discrimination Act Covers
The ENDA of 2009 prohibits businesses and employers from using a person’s sexual orientation (gay, lesbian, bisexual) and gender identity (transgender) in most areas of employment, including: hiring, promotions, wages, and termination. The legislation also extends protections to heterosexuals who may associate with GLBT staff, those who speak out against alleged LGBT discrimination, and heterosexuals who are be perceived as being GLBT. The language of the bill, for the most part, mirrors that of existing civil rights laws that address discrimination.
There are, however, several areas where the ENDA law differs from laws that protect current classes (race, color, national origin, sex, and religion). “Even where an employer is not motivated by discriminatory intent, Title VII prohibits an employer from using a facially neutral employment practice that has an unjustified adverse impact on members of a protected class .” These Disparate Impact claims are disallowed under ENDA legislation. According to the Human Rights Association, the leading GLBT lobbyist firm, “an employer is not required to justify a neutral practice that may have a statistically disparate impact on individuals because of their sexual orientation or