A leadership aide for the Senate Democratic has reported that the Senate may vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in September. This act could have a dramatic impact on workplace discrimination by preventing employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. If passed, the act would affect employees and employers in Missouri and in other states.

The proposed bill has passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions with a unanimous vote by Democrats and three votes by Republicans. However, the House Judiciary Committee has not yet had a hearing regarding the proposed bill. The bill is on a list of possible issues that the Senate may consider in September, but there is not yet a firm deadline set by the Senate in order to make this decision.

Federal laws ban employment discrimination due to race, sex, religion, national origin, disability and age. However, there is no existing federal law that bans employment discrimination that is based on a persons’ sexual orientation or their gender identity. Only 17 states have an explicit ban on this type of employment discrimination. Thirty-three states allow a person to be fired simply because they are gay, bisexual or transgender. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was presented in several congressional sessions. Although the bill was heard in years past, it has not had an official vote on it in the House of Representatives or the Senate since 2007. At that time, it passed in the House of Representatives, but it did not make it past the Senate.

A Missouri employment lawyer may help individuals who believe that they were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. An attorney may be able to explain changes in the law to individuals who may be impacted by them.

Source: Huffington Post, “Employment Non-Discrimination Act Set For ‘Possible’ Senate Vote In September“, Jennifer Bendery, August 15, 2013