November 01, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Change likely as lawmakers tackle LGBT discrimination in Pennsylvania
Believe it or not, even with the end of 2013 on the horizon, there is still no law in Pennsylvania that prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While in some cases, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees may be able to combat unfair employment practices under existing laws regarding sexual harassment or sex discrimination, there is no comprehensive state or federal law banning gay and lesbian employment discrimination
Yet, a number of Pennsylvania municipalities, including York and Harrisburg, ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And, two new measures -- one at the federal level and one at the state level -- could soon afford members of the GLBT community protection from discrimination at work throughout Pennsylvania.
ENDA at the federal level, House Bill 300 at the state level would ban LGBT workplace discrimination
The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, would prohibit employers nationwide from discriminating against workers on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. ENDA has a long history, having been introduced almost every year since 1994. It was even a single vote away from passage in 1996. However, ENDA has not had a full vote in the Senate since 1996, and some experts say this year might be different.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised that the Senate will take up ENDA before Thanksgiving. The measure has already passed out of committee on a favorite vote of 15-7, which included support from three Republicans. Republican support is considered critical for passage of the bill in the House of Representatives, where ENDA is expected to encounter more opposition than it will in the Senate.
Even if ENDA is again defeated this year, freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
could come at the state level in the form of House Bill 300. If passed, House Bill 300 would change the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to ban discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. House Bill 300 has bipartisan co-sponsorship in both the House and the Senate. Several of its supporters in the Pennsylvania General Assembly have spent October touring the state to drum up support for House Bill 300. Many Pennsylvania lawmakers have expressed confidence that House Bill 300 will become law.
Talk to a Pennsylvania employee rights attorney to learn more
According to a recent poll from CivicScience, a large majority of Pennsylvanians -- nearly 70 percent -- believe employees should not be terminated due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Local governments in 30 Pennsylvania jurisdictions already have ordinances that promote workplace fairness for LGBT citizens. Even if ENDA fails, House Bill 300 seems likely to shake up Pennsylvania employment discrimination law.
If you work in Pennsylvania and believe you may have been discriminated against in the workplace due to your sexual orientation or gender identity, important changes to the law could soon help you address your situation. You may not even have to wait to file a claim, depending on the nature of the discrimination and your local jurisdiction. Talk to a Pennsylvania employment discrimination lawyer today to explore your legal options, and to learn more about how pending legislation could affect you.
Article provided by McCarthy Weisberg Cummings, P.C.
Visit us at www.discrimination-harassment-law.com