Employment discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation and gender identity
Basic info. on the 2009 ENDA bills
About the 2009 version of ENDA:
Its stated purposes are:
To address the history and widespread pattern of
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender
identity by private sector employers and local, State, and
Federal Government employers;
To provide a comprehensive Federal prohibition of
employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or
gender identity, including meaningful and effective remedies
for any such discrimination; and
To invoke congressional powers, including the powers to
enforce the 14th amendment to the Constitution, and to regulate
interstate commerce and provide for the general welfare
pursuant to section 8 of article I of the Constitution, in
order to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation or gender identity. 1
Whom would it protect? It is an inclusive bill:
It would protect persons of all three sexual
orientations (heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual), whether actual or
ENDA would apply to the same employers as are covered under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including:
Private employers with 15 or more employees,
Labor unions, and employment agencies,
Federal, state and local governments.
Also exempt from the legislation are the Armed Forces, religious
institutions, and employers with fewer than 15 employees.
Quotas and health benefits:
The ENDA bill would forbid the adoption of quotas on the basis of sexual
orientation or gender equality.
The employer is not required to provide health benefits to their
Facilities and dress codes:
Employers would not be required to provide separate washroom for
transgender employees who are in the process of transitioning.
Employers may require employees to follow reasonable dress codes and
reasonable grooming standards. However, when a transgender employee has
already transitioned to their perceived gender or informs the employer that she/he
is transitioning, the employer must allow the employee to comply with their
dress code and grooming standards of the new gender. 1
Collection of statistics:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is prohibited from collecting
statistics "... on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity
from employers, or compel the collection of such statistics by employers.
Definitions within HR 3017:
Most of the terms in the bill are given the same definitions as found in
section 701 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e). The bill also
contains two very important new definitions:
(6) GENDER IDENTITY- The term ?gender identity? means the gender-related
identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics
of an individual, with or without regard to the individual?s designated sex
(9) SEXUAL ORIENTATION- The term ?sexual orientation? means
homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.
Unfortunately, the bill does not define homosexuality, heterosexuality, or
bisexuality. This is an important oversight because many religious and social
conservatives define these sexual orientations in terms of behavior. To them,
homosexuality involves being sexually active with a member of the same gender;
it is what someone does. Essentially everyone else defines them in terms of
feelings of sexual attraction. To them, homosexuality involves being
exclusively attracted to members of the same sex; it is part of what a person
is. Without a more precise definition of 'sexual orientation' some confusion
is likely to arise.
Still, this group of definitions is a major advance over the recently
proposed hate-crimes act which does not define
sexual orientation at all. As a result, a few fundamentalist Christian groups
have introduced a novel definition in which there
are 30 or more orientations possible. This alternate definition makes
dialogue, discussion and debate essentially impossible.
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