Equality in the Workplace: LGBT Issues and Anti-Discrimination

The struggle for equality in the workplace is a never-ending one. Anti-discrimination laws are just the starting place for combating some of the prejudices that have long been allowed by loopholes in the hiring process. Thankfully, these laws are getting passed, even if slowly, and the government is taking strides to keep discrimination out of the workplace. Discrimination in the workplace, at home, and among the general public are several LGBT issues which dot the socio-political landscape. Members of the LGBT community have been fighting to earn equal treatment under the law in many areas of work and home life, so workplace discrimination of course is one of the major fighting arenas.

Of the fifty states in the US, only about twenty-one provide anti-discrimination laws in the workplace for sexual orientation, and only about seventeen states provide protection for transgender workers. Most states actually do not provide any protection for LGBT workers at either the state or regular employment level. Legislation has been proposed in order to pass anti-discrimination laws, but as demonstrated with laws like ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) they take a long time in the works.

ENDA was first proposed in 1994, and it afforded rights originally to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. The proposition died in the House Committee. Since then, ENDA has been proposed an additional ten times, with the final proposition being placed of April earlier this year (2013). In 2009 gender identity was added to the bill in order to be protected; prior to that it had not been considered except once in 2007.

Even though ENDA passed at the senate level (64-32) the struggle for LGBT issues in the workplace is far from over. Discrimination, unfortunately, is not an ailment that can be recovered from over the span of a night, a weekend, a year, or even five. It’s time to make a change, so we’ll all have to work towards a common goal in order to keep discrimination out of the workplace.