If the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passes, you’ll need to be on the lookout for new types of bias lawsuits.
The bill has been introduced in the Senate. Debate in the House is already underway.
If passed, the bill would ban hiring, firing or disciplining employees based on their sexual orientation. The version of the bill introduced to both houses would also protect transgender individuals.
ENDA would cover companies with 15 or more employees and prohibits retaliation. The bill also includes exemptions for religious organizations in some cases.
One of the big issues addressed related to transgender employees: dress codes. The bill says companies won’t be required to relax their standards, but will have to let transgender employees “adhere to the same dress or grooming standards for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning.”
Will it pass?
The bill’s been introduced several times before, to no avail. But ENDA may have the numbers on its side this time, with 152 co-sponsors so far in the House, 38 in the Senate, a Democratic majority in Congress and the support of the President.
Experts say the bill has a chance to become law by the end of this year.
What should HR do?
If ENDA passes, HR will need to:
- Train managers on interviewing and hiring in compliance with the law, as well as handling potentially uncomfortable situations (for example, learning a job applicant is a transgender person), and
- Review harassment policies and add provisions related to sexual orientation and gender identity.