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August 17, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – ENDA

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is not a new acronym.  In fact, it has been included in some form of the bills considered by Congress in every session since 1994 except in the 109th Congress (January 3, 2005 to January 3, 2007).  So what is ENDA?  Simply stated, it is a proposed federal law that would prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace.  The bill is closely modeled on existing civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 15 states and D.C. also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.  Although these laws provide important protections, according to a 2002 General Accounting Office (GAO) report, relatively few complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation have been filed in these states.

Although there isn’t currently a federal law in place, as of March 2011 87% of the Fortune 500 companies had implemented non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and 46% had policies that include gender identity.

Currently the bill was introduced in the 112th Congress on April 6, 2011 in the House, and on April 13, 2011 in the Senate.  With the current makeup of the House and Senate, politicians are predicting that the proposed ENDA may pass.  Stay tuned for further updates.


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