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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.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

National Call-In Days for Workplace Equality

ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, H.R. 2015, is now pending before the 110th Congress, and an impressive list of organizations has teamed up to create "National Call-In Days for Workplace Equality." The bill, which would prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, has been introduced in the House of Representatives, and the House recently held hearings on the bill. The National Call-In Days kick off is this Wednesday, September 19.

GenderPAC sent me an email which lists some interesting facts about the current situation:

-In 39 states it is legal to fire or refuse to hire someone solely based on an employee’s gender identity or expression.

-It is legal in 31 states to do so simply because of an employee's sexual orientation.

It also linked me to civilrights.org's comprehensive website on ENDA, which has the text of the bill, a list of corporate supporters, polls, talking points, and info about the religious exemption. There are letters from not only well-respected GLBT organizations, but also mainstream organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the National Employment Lawyers Association, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Major corporations have also written letters of support, including BP, Coors, DeutscheBank, General Mills, Harrah's Entertainment, HP, JP MorganChase, and Levi Strauss.

These groups are asking people to call the House to express support for HR 2015 on Wednesday, September 19. You can call the House of Representatives at 202-224-3121, and the operator will connect you to your Representative if you give your zip code.

HRC also has a site where you can send a letter to your Representative, and it has a very interesting video with a story of discrimination against a police officer. GLAAD has a site with its television ads that are now airing in support of the bill.

Interestingly, SHRM, the Society for Human Resources Managements, which is the premier association representing HR professionals in the US, said the following about HR 2015:

"In practice and policy, SHRM supports fair employment practices without regard to a person's sexual orientation or sexual preference. SHRM strongly believes that employment decisions should be made on the basis of an individual's occupational qualifications and experience, and not on factors that have no bearing on job performance." (http://www.shrm.org/government/update/090707_3.asp)

In a recent article, SHRM noted that a provision in the bill that would pre-empt or overlap parts of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has drawn criticism from employer groups and several congressional leaders. "[Representative]Frank has told critics that the ERISA-related provision should not have been placed in the bill and has said that it 'would not be part of the final legislation.'"

If you're interested in more about ENDA, see the subject index on the right side of this blog, and look under "ENDA."

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