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Oct 31, 2013

By Michael J. Lotito

During floor remarks this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, announced that he intends to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (S. 815) up for a full U.S. Senate vote in the coming weeks.

Introduced in the Senate by Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, ENDA would make it unlawful for an employer with 15 or more employees:

  1. To fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; or,
  2. To limit, segregate, or classify the employees or applicants for employment of the employer in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment or otherwise adversely affect the status of the individual as an employee, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill defines “gender identity” as “the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

Back in July, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted to advance the measure. Even if the bill clears the Senate, however, its prospects are dimmer in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

This was originally published on Littler Mendelson’s D.C. Employment Law Update blog. © 2013 Littler Mendelson. All Rights Reserved. Littler®, Employment & Labor Law Solutions Worldwide® and ASAP® are registered trademarks of Littler Mendelson, P.C.