Late last week the United States Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This Act prohibits hiring and employment discrimination based on the sexual orientation and sexual identity of an individual. Essentially, this Act takes the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin, found in Title VII, and extends it to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
The bill passed the Senate with a 64-32 vote with ten Republicans voting in favor of its passage. ENDA is not in effect yet, though it has passed one major hurdle in being passed by the Senate. Now the amended version of the bill will go to the House of Representatives for approval. The House presents another hurdle as many Republicans have spoken out against it. Further, Speaker of the House John Boehner has previously indicated that he is against the bill and will likely not even bring it up for a vote.
If the bill is indeed brought before the House and passed, then ENDA could greatly change how discrimination is defined across the country affecting both employers and employees alike. This new bill would create an entire new group of protected individuals from discrimination. However, as of now, we are waiting to see what the House does with the passed bill and we could be waiting a while.
If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination in your workplace, we encourage you to contact a Tennessee employment lawyer. At The Higgins Firm, we would be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding your discrimination claim.