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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ENDA: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act

As noted in my last post, a measure was introduced into the U.S. House yesterday to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It was introduced by two Democrats, Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and two Republicans, Chris Shays (R-Conn.) and Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) .

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act ("ENDA") would provide legal recourse to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are discriminated against by their employers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. I understand from various sources that the bill contains exemptions for small businesses, religious organizations, the military and employer dress codes. It only permits direct impact cases, in other words, cases where the employer explicitly discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It would not permit "disparate impact" claims, referring to cases where employer policies are alleged to disadvantage certain populations, though they do not explicitly discriminate.

This bill is different from previous bills because it includes gender identity in addition to sexual orientation. I've discussed the contentious issue of transgender inclusion in several previous blogs.

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