As a reader of our blog, you may already know that the Civil Rights Act protects you from discrimination in the workplace based on religion, age, race, ethnicity, national origin and gender. But what about sexual orientation and gender identity? Does the bill extend rights in these circumstances as well? You might be surprised to learn that in many states this isn't the case and even here in Indiana the law does not provide definitive protection against wrongful termination or retaliation for people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT).
But new bill that has recently been approved by a Senate panel could change all of that and very soon. According to reports, a new bill, called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, will ban job-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Despite the advancements in gay rights across the nation, it's important to point out that there still is no federal law that protects people in the LGBT community from discrimination in the workplace. As with Indiana, while our state prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in public workplaces--as with state workers--the law does not appear to extend to the private sector. This means that LGBT employees may not be hired for a job, denied promotions, or even terminated simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Adding additional language that extends to all people in the LGBT community will provide much-needed protection to employees in the private sector. Some could also argue that these changes make sense considering the current shift in gay rights at this time. While it may not stop all occurrences of discrimination in the workplace, it will at least ensure that an employee's rights are protected if the matter ever goes to court.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Senate panel OKs Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) bill banning anti-gay job bias," Sam Hananel, July 10, 2013