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.
This year, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was proposed in the House with 193 co-sponsors. According to a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign advocacy group, Fred Sainz, the bill is intentionally being stalled by House Speaker Boehner. Sainz reportedly believes the proposed anti-discrimination measure will be passed without haste if it is allowed to reach the governing body for a vote. Opponents of the bill reportedly claim the law would force healthcare providers to pay for gender-reassignment operations and result in frivolous lawsuits.
Whether or not this proposed federal law is passed, it is unlawful for employers in New Jersey to discriminate against current or potential workers who are members of a protected class. New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination prohibits discrimination in any job-related action on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, pregnancy status, marital status, mental or physical disability, and more. The victim of workplace discrimination in New Jersey has the option to file a formal complaint within 180 days with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights or file a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court. If you were discriminated against by a New Jersey employer based upon your sexual orientation or another protected status, you should discuss your situation with a quality employment lawyer.
Please call the Resnick Law Group, P.C. at 973-781-1204 or (646) 867-7997 if you believe you were unlawfully discriminated against at a New Jersey or New York workplace. The experienced employment law attorneys at the Resnick Law Group represent current and former workers in both New Jersey and New York regarding matters that involve workplace discrimination and harassment. To discuss your case with a caring advocate, contact the Resnick Law Group through our website today.
More Blog Posts:
Strippers Win Employee Misclassification Case in New York, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, November 5, 2013
New Jersey Law Allows Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Crimes to Take Unpaid Work Leave, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, November 4, 2013
Senate votes to ban workplace bias due to sexual orientation, by William Douglas and Curtis Tate, McClatchy DC
Photo credit: mxruben, morgueFile