New Jersey Law Protects Workers from Discrimination Prohibited by Proposed Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act
The United States Senate has passed a bill designed to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers across the country from discrimination. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would prohibit employers with at least 15 workers from engaging in discrimination against an employee based upon his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill also provides an exemption for religious institutions and the military. The measure was passed after two Independent, 10 Republican, and 52 Democratic Senators voted in favor of the bill. The proposed law will now move on to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Despite the bill's bipartisan success in the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner reportedly opposes the workplace rights bill. A spokesperson for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Rory Cooper, stated the proposed measure is not currently on the legislative schedule. President Obama stated it is his hope that the bill will be considered, passed, and sent to his desk for signature quickly. It is unclear, however, whether the measure will be ever considered by the House.
Although a number of state anti-discrimination laws are in place, there is currently no federal law that protects gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers in the U.S. from discrimination. The landmark Employment Non-Discrimination Act was first introduced to the Congress in 1994. Since then, the measure was re-introduced each year with varied success. In 1996, the proposed law failed in the Senate by only one vote. In 2007, the measure was passed by the House of Representatives but not the Senate.