Assuming the ENDA Becomes Law, How will It Affect Employee Laws?

Employment attorneys

The White House, House of Representatives, and Senate have been debating a new bill that would see discriminatory practices in the workplace based on sexual orientation outlawed. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), unarguably among the biggest wins for civil rights since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, would extend these basic protections to the more than 9 million Americans who identify as members of the LGBT community, assuming estimates from the Williams Institute are accurate.

The First Act of Its Kind at the Federal Level
As far as the changes the ENDA would bring to employment laws across the country go, it isn’t exactly unique. New York, for example, passed the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in 2002, protecting all of its citizens from being discriminated or harassed in the workplace because of their sexual preferences. Twelve-years later, the ENDA is being mulled about at the federal level. If adopted, the sweeping reforms the new law will bring to employee laws across all 50 states will offer renewed equality on a scale it hasn’t been seen since the Title VII protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was instituted decades ago.

How will Ratification of the ENDA Affect Your Rights as an Employee?
In effect, the ENDA will add sexual orientation to a list of protected categories covered under Title VII. Currently, Title VII of the aforementioned Civil Rights Act protects Americans against wrongful dismissal and other forms of discrimination due to age, sex, race, color, and national origin. In short, if LGBT Americans find themselves being treated differently — positively or negatively — because of their orientation, they will have a much stronger case when hiring employment lawyers to fight for their equal rights in court. Currently, only employment attorneys in states with their own non-discrimination laws have found any real success.

As MetroWeekly.com, a popular online newspaper for the LGBT community and its allies, writes, the ENDA remains at a standstill, as typically polarized politicians continue debating over whether to reshape employee laws and extend equal rights to all Americans — you know, as is guaranteed by our founding principles. As Democrats push to force a vote on the issue and President Obama considers executive action, however, employee laws could be changed for the better sooner than we think. Find out more about this topic here.

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