The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a critical piece of legislation that aims to prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA has been introduced in every session of Congress – except once – since 1994, and almost two decades later, a federal law that protects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community still does not exist. Last month, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee voted 15-7 to advance ENDA to the full Senate floor this fall. This could be the first time ENDA has received a full Senate vote since 1996.
Far too often, LGBT workers are not hired, not promoted, or, in worst cases, fired from their jobs solely due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, and not based on employment qualifications. If passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, ENDA would protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, and it could start to repair the “broken bargain” of discrimination, fewer benefits, and more taxes that LGBT workers experience daily.