Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Newly Signed Executive Order Protects LGBTs from Hiring/Workplace Discrimination

Finally, there is now legal recourse for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals being barred from the workplace with the signing of President Obama of Executive Order that protects LGBT applicants and workers from hiring and workplace discrimination.

President Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order that bars discrimination against transgender federal employees, and adds people who identify as LGBT to a list of those against whom federal contractors can not discriminate. “We’re on the right side of history,” Obama said at a press conference. “America’s federal contractors should not subsidize discrimination against the American people.”

For religious freedom advocates, that could pose a major problem. Obama’s order does not provide an exemption for religious organizations, whereas the ENDA bill before Congress does.  Read more: 

It should be recalled that prior to the signing of this executive order, the Obama administration had been caught between a rock and a hard place, so to speak,as opposing religious groups – liberal faith leaders siding with LGBT rights groups and conservative religious leaders – square off on the issue of President Obama's upcoming executive orders that wprotects LGBT members from hiring and workplace discrimination.ill ban LGBT discrimination.  See here 

Also, major LGBT groups withdrew their support for ENDA. A statement written by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey Tuesday in an op-ed in The Advocate partly reads: “As one of the lead advocates on this bill for 20 years, we do not take this move lightly but we do take it unequivocally – we now oppose this version of ENDA because of its too-broad religious exemption” - See more here

More recently, when feelers were sent that the executive order would not include any new religious exemption, other reports say the non-inclusion of a new religious exemption is the President's move against the recent SC ruling favoring Hobby Lobby's plea to be granted religious exemption from a part of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate. - See

However, President Obama himself remarked:
Equality in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it turns out to be good business.  That’s why a majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies in place.  It is not just about doing the right thing -- it’s also about attracting and retaining the best talent.  And there are several business leaders who are here today who will attest to that.
And yet, despite all that, in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can still be a fireable offense.  There are people here today who’ve lost their jobs for that reason.  This is not speculative, this is not a matter of political correctness -- people lose their jobs as a consequence of this.  Their livelihoods are threatened, their families are threatened.  In fact, more states now allow same-sex marriage than prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers.  So I firmly believe that it’s time to address this injustice for every American.

Indeed, it is time to stop marginalizing people and keep them from gaining equal job opportunities just because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
American workers should be judged by one thing only: their ability to get the job done. That’s why the President has long supported federal legislation to explicitly prohibit employers across the country from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. For forty years, Congress has considered various pieces of legislation meant to address LGBT workplace equality. Last November, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with strong bipartisan support. However, the House has failed to act. Read more of the Fact Sheet regarding President Obama's Executive Order here

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