A new version of an anti-employment discrimination bill has just been re-introduced
seeking to eliminate employment discrimination based on sexual orientation
and gender-identity. The reintroduced Employment Non-Discrimination Act
(ENDA) would prohibit an employer from refusing to hire, fire, or take
any other adverse action against a worker based on actual or perceived
sexual orientation or gender identity. Similar restrictions also would
extend to employment agencies and labor organizations.
As stated by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who introduced the law, “Lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender Americans are first-class citizens; they
are full and welcome members of our American family; and they deserve
the same civil rights protections as all other Americans-to be judged
based on their talent, ability, qualifications and what they can contribute,
not by their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
While many types of employment discrimination are currently prohibited
– such as sex, religion and race – Title VII of the 1964 Civil
Right Act – does not specifically address workplace bias concerning
sexual orientation. However, if you experience any form of work place
discrimination, it’s a good idea to speak to a knowledgeable Atlanta
employment discrimination lawyer right away. An experienced
Georgia discrimination lawyer can help you determine the best steps to take.
While Title VII does not specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation discrimination or gender identity, several states
do have laws prohibiting these types of bias. For example 16 states ban
discrimination based on gender identity and 21 prohibit gender discrimination.
The most recent version of EDNA includes a variety of changes, including
authorizing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”)
to investigate claims of workplace sexual orientation and gender identity
discrimination. Further, where bias or discrimination is found, a worker
may be able to file a civil lawsuit and obtain the same damages and remedies
as in other employment discrimination matters based on Title VII.
This includes things such as being entitled to a jury trial on your claims
of employment discrimination, and to a wide range of damages if you are
successful in your lawsuit. The remedies that may be available in a successful
employment discrimination lawsuit include:
• Reinstatement • Front Pay • Back Pay • Compensatory
Damages • Punitive Damages • Injunctive Relief • Attorneys’ Fees
Additionally, the most recent version of EDNA prohibits retaliation (such
as firing, moving to a less desirable location, or giving less desirable
hours) against a worker who opposes a prohibited employment practice or
participates in a related hearing or investigation.
Senator Harkin notes that more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies
already extend workplace protections based on sexual orientation, while
more than one-third prohibit gender identity discrimination.
As Georgia employment attorneys dedicated to eliminating workplace discrimination,
we will be following the development of this non-discrimination law closely.
For more information or if you believe you have been subjected to any
form of employment discrimination please contact the top
Atlanta anti-discrimination lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.