Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) of Oregon has introduced legislation to prohibit discrimination in the workplace against LGBT Americans. The “Employment Non- Discrimination Act” would prohibit intentional employment discrimination against LGBT workers by employers, employment agencies and labor unions. Similar legislation is being introduced in the House.
Here in NJ, and in many other states as well, state law already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, these protections have never been implemented at a federal level for the LGBT community.
According to Bloomberg, “[i]n the last Congress, 43 senators co-sponsored legislation to end LGBT employment discrimination. The law would hardly be a burden. The overwhelming majority of Fortune 500 companies already subscribe to its guidelines. So do many municipalities. Private clubs, religious organizations and businesses with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt.”
We heartily agree that the same protections afforded racial minorities, the disabled, the aged, and other classes of employees should be extended to LGBT workers. There is no doubt that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or identity takes place. Federal acknowledgment of this problem would be an important milestone in civil rights history.