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New federal legislation may address workplace discrimination concerns

Workplace discrimination is so prevalent that a lobbying organization's goal is now to push for passage of the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act." This organization is being headed up by former lead counsel for the U.S. House Education & Labor Committee. Should such legislation be passed along with any complimentary executive order, it could bring a legal remedy to citizens of Indiana that have faced workplace discrimination.

One of the committees focuses has been on firing of workers due to sexual orientation. It is still legal to discriminate or fire individuals based on sexual orientation in 29 states and on gender identity in 35 states. Though it's possible that Congress may roll out some new statutes dealing with these concerns, it will still require lawyers that understand this area of law to promote implementation of these statutes and to also monitor the employment situation to make sure that such statutes are enforced.

Much of the language in this proposed act has already been deleted or amended because of political considerations. Though the original proposed language was passed in Congress, because language in the proposed statute was struck this act never came up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

There has also been a push for an executive order preventing government money from going to federal contractors and suppliers that do not have a policy prohibiting discrimination based sexual orientation and gender identity. However, it is not yet clear whether the Obama administration would actually be open to passing such an order.

As circumstances currently stand, workplace discrimination requires to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Hopefully, this situation will change in the near future.

Source: Washington Blade, "New group joins fight against workplace discrimination," by Chris Johnson, Oct. 26, 2011

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