||August 9, 2013|
S. 815—“Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013”
No action is requested at this time. HSLDA will continue to monitor this bill and will send out an action alert if a hearing is scheduled for this bill.
S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), will make it illegal for employers to refuse to hire an employee based on that person’s “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” This would mean that a business or organization with more than 15 employees would be barred by federal law from refusing to hire a person because of the person’s sexual orientation or how they identify their gender “with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.” This opens up the opportunity for anyone to file a lawsuit against a business or organization they claim did not hire them based on their “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
Although ENDA includes an exemption for religious organizations, this religious exemption could lead to courts making a determination if a certain employee was hired to perform work of a religious nature, or if the business or organization is even religious in nature. Additionally, this religious exemption would not apply to a secular company, even if owned and operated by people of faith who believe that homosexuality is a sin. ENDA will require people of faith to check their religious practices at the door of their workplace.
The bill includes many vaguely defined provisions which could land employers into a legal minefield and open the door to costly litigation. ENDA defines “gender identity” as “the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.” Employers are prohibited from discriminating on this basis. Discrimination includes actions that “adversely affect the status of the individual as an employee, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”
ENDA has been introduced in every Congress since 1997 but has not yet been passed into law.
|4/25/2013||Introduced and referred to committee|
Sponsor: Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
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