New bill would ban bias based on sexual orientation

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:

  1. 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
  2. Review harassment policies and add provisions related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

0 thoughts on “New bill would ban bias based on sexual orientation”

  1. Dear Mr. Narisi,

    In the passage:
    “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…”

    Your example is so offensive… a manager is always expected to handle all “situations” professionally. Personal “discomfort” because of personal morals is one of the many things that get checked at the door as we enter the workplace. This should already be part of “manager training” and a transgender’s appearance should not be any different than the appearance if someone who is bald, overweight, cross-eyed, blonde, blue-eyed or anything else that might make a manager “uncomfortable”.

    Respectfully,
    V. Archuleta

  2. There is a very unkind mannerism that many gay men flaunt especially against women. I see it and hear it constantly. It is hurtful, but is regualrly used within the mannerism of the gay population. I believe it takes both sides/people to respect the other. Whether it’s HR or the potential employee, both parties need to respect the other. Taking an extreem course in life does not entitle you to special priviledges in which everyone must adjust to you only. The person who steps way out of the norm must respect the people who have to adjust to these changes as well. I feel that it becomes too one-sided.

  3. I feel if they wish to pass such a law they need to be specific as to which orientations will be protected and how those orientations are defined. Do we want to wish to protect the right of the pedaphile to work in a day care facility? Orientation is a very broad word and can describe a wide variety of behaviors and situations. Laws can often have unintended consquences so I feel we need to tread carefully and wisely.

  4. This was a hard-fought under-the-radar victory.I alosmt want to keep it quiet…because if Bush’s hard-right supporters discover it, they may try to either make a campaign issue out of it, or rescind it.Isn’t it a sad statement, to want to remain quiet about such a huge victory? Such are our times.

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