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Discrimination in Employment

The Importance of Workplace Protections

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would extend existing federal employment anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. Currently, employers in 30 states may legally fire someone based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and employers in 37 states may legally fire someone based on their gender identity.

PFLAG calls upon our friends in the Congress to pass a transgender-inclusive ENDA, which would provide protections against employment discrimination for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.  Fairness in the workplace is an American value and for this reason a federal workplace non-discrimination law should protect LGBT people. 

To weigh in, and voice your support for ENDA, click here and send a message to your elected representative.  Be sure to identify yourself as a PFLAG member, and to specifically ask your elected representative to co-sponsor this legislation.   Then, ask your friends, neighbors and family members to email and express their support, too.  When you contact your Member of Congress, please remember to highlight some of these important points:

  • Recruit and Retain the Best and Brightest.  Qualified, dedicated workers should not be denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discrimi¬nated against for reasons that are unrelated to their job descriptions, qualifications, skills, performance or abilities.  Job discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity effectively denies qualified individu¬als the ability to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.
  • Corporate America Gets It.  Over 150 Fortune 500 companies have voluntarily adopting nondiscrimination policies including gender identity.  Businesses have shown they are able to comply with non-discrimination policies and laws. When an employee informs a supervisor of plans to transition, there are straightforward actions an employer can take to make the transition smooth and successful for both parties. The transgender inclusive version of the bill includes language dealing specifically with dress codes and shower/dressing facilities that ensures businesses will not be burdened by this law.
  • States and Local Governments Get It.  A growing number of states and localities prohibit discrimination against transgender people, yet coverage remains spotty and laws are often not enforced. Nationally, 37% of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction that prohibits gender identity discrimination. In comparison, sexual orientation protections cover 51% of the country. Currently, there are trans-inclusive laws in 13 states along with DC and more than 90 local jurisdictions have similar protections.
  • PFLAG Supports an Inclusive Bill.  Including explicit protections against discrimination based on gender identity strengthens ENDA for everyone. Gender identity protections ensure that an employer cannot fire or refuse to hire an employee based on their perception of someone’s gender expression. For example, a man wouldn’t be able to be fired for having an “effeminate” walk nor could a female employee be fired for dressing “too butch.”
  • Americans Support an Inclusive Bill.  The public supports a transgender inclusive ENDA. According to numerous surveys, over 60% of likely voters in the U.S. support a transgender-inclusive federal employment non-discrimination law. Polling data from 2006 shows that voters are more likely to support a candidate who votes for an LGBT discrimination law than they are to vote against. There is also state-specific polling data. In New Jersey, for example, voters supported state legislation to add gender identity protections with a high margin: 70%-19%.

LGBT Americans deserve to be treated equally under the law.  They deserve a fair shot at applying for and keeping a job, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.  And our country deserves a strong work force that includes the best and brightest our country has to offer, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, too.  Join PFLAG in calling on Congress to pass a fully inclusive ENDA.  The time has come to end workplace discrimination and break down the barriers that prevent our loved ones from working.  If you have any questions regarding this information, please be sure to contact us.