Senate HELP Committee approves Employment Non-Discrimination Act; protects gays and transgender works – Jacksonville Business Journal

A Senate committee approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act by a 15-7 vote this morning, giving gay Americans a victory in their long fight against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“We finally got it out of committee,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs theSenate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “It has been a long time coming.”

Harkin said Senate leaders have indicated could be brought up in the full Senate for debate sometime this fall.

The legislation would prohibit employers from firing or refusing to hire people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity — extending workplace protections that already apply to race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability.

Nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and 57 percent of these large corporations also ban discrimination based on gender identity.

But this form of workplace discrimination is not against federal law, and it’s legal in 28 states.

via Senate HELP Committee approves Employment Non-Discrimination Act; protects gays and transgender works – Jacksonville Business Journal.