November 07, 2013
Tim Kauffman
[email protected]

Largest federal employee union calls for House vote on workplace discrimination bill

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today praised the Senate for passing a bill that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and called on the House to take up the measure as soon as possible.

The Senate on Thursday passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to promote or refusing to hire employees because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

“An employee’s sexual orientation or general identity should have no bearing on an employer’s decision to hire, fire or promote that employee,” Cox said. “Employees and job applicants should be evaluated solely on their skills and abilities to do the job – not on the color of their skin, their country of origin, their age or gender, their physical or mental impairments, their religious affiliation, and certainly not their sexual preferences.”

Cox called on Speaker of the House John Boehner to bring the bill to the House floor as soon as possible.

For years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has enforced prohibitions against employment discrimination in the federal government based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the Office of Special Counsel and Merit Systems Protection Board have protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered federal workers from discriminatory personnel actions.

“It is time for our nation to provide the same level of protection against discrimination to all workers,” AFGE Legislative and Political Director Beth Moten said in a Nov. 4 letter to the Senate.

A copy of the letter is here.

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