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What is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act?

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is legislation proposed by the United States Congress that would prohibit discrimination because of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposed text of the law prohibits specifically the failure or refusal to:

  • hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of such individual; or (2) limit, segregate or classify employees or applicants in any way that would deprive any individual of employment or adversely affect an individual’s status as an employee. Prohibits employment agencies, labor organizations, and training programs from engaging in similar practices that would adversely affect individuals based on such actual or perceived orientation or identity.

The law, like other non-discrimination laws, prohibits any form of retaliation or harassment by a covered entity based on opposing such an unlawful employment practice; or making a charge, testifying, assisting, or participating in an investigation, under ENDA.

The law would apply to employers with at least 15 employees. as well as federal, state, and local government employers. However, ENDA, as it is being proposed, exempt from compliance organizations affiliated with, or run by religious groups including schools, corporations, associations, societies, hospitals, social services agencies, gyms, and community centers run by religious groups or with religious missions, retirement homes, newspapers, and publishers.

Enforcement of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

ENDA would be enforced like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Department of Justice would handle enforcement actions concerning state and local governments, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) would enforce violations against private employers.

Status

ENDA was passed by the US Senate on a bipartisan basis on November 7, 2013, by a vote of 64-32. It has yet to pass the House of Representatives, although there have been efforts to move the bill forward.

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