Today, Rep. Adam Schiff, a vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus (Equality Caucus) applauded the announcement that President will sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors and agencies from discriminating against employees on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. Schiff earlier led an effort urging President Obama to issue such an Executive Order. The announcement is an important step towards ending discrimination against LGBT employees and ensuring that they are judged based on the quality of their work and not because of who they are or who they love. The executive order, when implemented, will only protect employees of federal contractors and federal agencies.
“The President’s actions today are important, and a welcome first step while we wait for the Republican leadership to bring up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate – for a vote in the House,” said Rep. Schiff. “With the House leadership thus far preventing a vote, it was time to use every avenue available to fight discrimination against LGBT Americans. Nevertheless, this does not free Congress from the responsibility to pass ENDA and protect all workers from discrimination and we continue to call for such action.”
Rep. Schiff is an original co-sponsor of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which passed the U.S. Senate in November 2013. ENDA currently has 205 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would establish basic protections in the workplace to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are currently only 18 states (including California) and the District of Columbia that prohibit discrimination on bases of sexual orientation and gender identity, and an additional 3 states that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. ENDA would provide a basic level of protection against workplace discrimination in a manner modeled closely on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would apply to private employers as well as local, state, and federal government employers.