The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA - H.R. 3017, S. 1584) would enact express protections against workplace discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, similar to those available under existing federal non-discrimination laws for other protected classes of employees.
SITUATION ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL
ENDA was introduced in the 111th Congress by Representatives Barney Frank and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on June 24, 2009 and by Senators Jeff Merkley and Susan Collins in the U.S. Senate on August 5, 2009 .
1. This legislation would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote an employee simply based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. It would reinforce the principle that employment decisions should be based upon a person’s qualifications and job performance.
2. ENDA closely follows the model of existing federal civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, ensuring that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are treated in the same way as other groups protected under law – no better, no worse.
3. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 12 states (including Illinois) and D.C. also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
SITUATION IN ILLINOIS
Illinois is one of eleven states in the country to include workplace protections for both sexual orientation AND gender identity. § 775 ILCS 5/1-102 (2005). Equality Illinois played a key role in securing this legislation for the state of Illinois.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Send a letter to your Senators and Representative to express your support for the federal Employment Non Discrimination Act, or call the Washington, DC Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and have them connect you to your Congressperson based on your zip code. Also, Representatives are generally in their home districts during Congressional recess, so set up a to visit with you Rep or their staff in their home district offices. Don’t forget, writing a letter to your local newspaper is also a great way to reach out to a larger audience about the issue.
Equality Illinois will continue to work hard on this issue. But we cannot succeed in our mission without your support, so please sign up for our e-newsletter and DONATE to Equality Illinois now.