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ENDA passes Senate vote

Some LGBT employees in Missouri may be following a federal bill that would grant the community new protection in the workplace. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has passed the United States Senate with a vote of 64 to 32. If the act successfully passes the United States House of Representatives, workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity would be prohibited.

The act was introduced for the first time in 1994 and has since been reintroduced in various incarnations multiple times. The bill is now in front of the Republican-led House of Representatives, where it may be shot down. The House Speaker said that there is no need for the bill. The Republican leader may even choose to not let it be placed up for a vote.

There are currently 21 states that have laws to protect LGBT employees. In addition, 96 percent of Fortune 500 companies have protections of this nature. The CEO of Apple said that these policies have resulted in positive benefits, such as increased retention rates, greater productivity and a more diverse talent base. The Williams Institute of UCLA released a report that claimed 21 percent of LGBT employees say that they have been victims of discrimination in terms of being hired, promoted and paid. Additionally, 47 percent of transgender employees report similar forms of discrimination. About 4 percent of the total workforce self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

If an employee is discriminated against, he or she may pursue a workplace discrimination lawsuit against the employer. Through such a claim, a victim may receive damages.

Source: LA Times, "A rundown of LGBT workplace discrimination statistics", Ricardo Lopez, November 21, 2013

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