–Ronniesia Reed, Perspectives Editor
Employees are protected by many laws in the workplace, including protection against being discriminated by race, gender or disabilities.
However, an important issue that has needed to be addressed for a while now is discrimination based on sexual orientation. There has never been a law to protect every American from being treated unfairly based on their sexual preference, until now.
“Qualified, hardworking Americans are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender” according to the Human Rights Campaign.
“There is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination; there are no state laws in 29 states that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in 33 states that do so based on gender identity. As a result, LGBT people face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion and experiencing harassment on the job.”
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a huge law for the LGBT community and represents how far they have come in recent years. This act prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
There are many cases of people being discriminated against and bullied in the workplace because of their sexuality, and it isn’t fair. At John Brown University, a private Christian college in Arkansas, that forced an assistant professor named Jason Hough to resign after finding out he was gay.
We are no longer living in a time where it is weird or wrong to be gay, bisexual, transgender or anything else relating to sexuality. Everyone should feel safe and respected when going to work.
This bill was passed last month and was supported by the entire Democratic caucus and some of the Republican caucus. It was long overdue, and in this day and age there should be a law protecting all citizens. According to cbsnews.com, a version of the ENDA was proposed in 1996, but failed by one vote.
“One party in one house of Congress should not stand in the way of millions of Americans who want to go to work each day and simply be judged by the job they do; now is the time to end this kind of discrimination in the workplace, not enable it,” President Obama said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The controversy with this act is as The Conservative Family Research Council said, the ENDA “would transform the workplace into an environment in which certain self-identifications and conducts must be given special privileges by employers that might require people to suppress religious or moral views.”
This new law states that it does not apply to religious institutions. Religion and LGBT rights can be two topics that clash pretty strongly.
However, employers should be aware of how to handle this. They should know how to handle misconduct in the workplace.
We are not all going to agree on everything and there are many reasons for employees not to get along.
The ENDA is a huge step in giving all American citizens equality, and it is important to our society. We want our children to know that they are being raised in a country where they will be accepted no matter what. TAS