WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), today announced that he is a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would extend workplace protections against discrimination to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered employees in the United States.
“Our nation’s promise of equal protection under the law should be fulfilled for all Americans at the workplace, regardless of sexual orientation or identity or for any reason,” said Senator Cardin. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in supporting this important legislation that protects all Americans against any form of discrimination in the workplace.”
ENDA would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee based on his or her sexual orientation. Current federal law bars employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability, but does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. While the law in some states currently protects against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, it is still legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation in 29 states across America
Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced H.R. 1397, a similar measure in the House of Representatives on April 6, 2011. Additionally, Senator Cardin was an original co-sponsor of the Senate’s 2009 Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the 111th Congress.
More than 85 major corporations endorse passage of ENDA through the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness. In addition, 87 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their equal employment policies, and 46 percent also include gender identity.