A new version of an anti-employment discrimination bill has just been re-introduced seeking to eliminate employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender-identity. The reintroduced Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would prohibit an employer from refusing to hire, fire, or take any other adverse action against a worker based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Similar restrictions also would extend to employment agencies and labor organizations.
As stated by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who introduced the law, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans are first-class citizens; they are full and welcome members of our American family; and they deserve the same civil rights protections as all other Americans-to be judged based on their talent, ability, qualifications and what they can contribute, not by their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
While many types of employment discrimination are currently prohibited – such as sex, religion and race – Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act – does not specifically address workplace bias concerning sexual orientation. However, if you experience any form of work place discrimination, it’s a good idea to speak to a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer right away. An experienced Georgia discrimination lawyer can help you determine the best steps to take.
While Title VII does not specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation discrimination or gender identity, several states do have laws prohibiting these types of bias. For example 16 states ban discrimination based on gender identity and 21 prohibit gender discrimination.
The most recent version of EDNA includes a variety of changes, including authorizing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) to investigate claims of workplace sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Further, where bias or discrimination is found, a worker may be able to file a civil lawsuit and obtain the same damages and remedies as in other employment discrimination matters based on Title VII.
This includes things such as being entitled to a jury trial on your claims of employment discrimination, and to a wide range of damages if you are successful in your lawsuit. The remedies that may be available in a successful employment discrimination lawsuit include:
• Reinstatement • Front Pay • Back Pay • Compensatory Damages • Punitive Damages • Injunctive Relief • Attorneys’ Fees
Additionally, the most recent version of EDNA prohibits retaliation (such as firing, moving to a less desirable location, or giving less desirable hours) against a worker who opposes a prohibited employment practice or participates in a related hearing or investigation.
Senator Harkin notes that more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies already extend workplace protections based on sexual orientation, while more than one-third prohibit gender identity discrimination.
As Georgia employment attorneys dedicated to eliminating workplace discrimination, we will be following the development of this non-discrimination law closely. For more information or if you believe you have been subjected to any form of employment discrimination please contact the top Atlanta anti-discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.