Many workers know that if they are the victims of discrimination in the workplace, that they have options available to them to hold their employers accountable for their actions. While these protections apply to many different characteristics, including age, race, gender or disability, a person's sexual origin is not yet currently covered by these laws.
Congress is considering passing legislation that would end employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) workers. The bill, called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), is specifically focused on discrimination in the workplace against LGBT individuals.
There have been several efforts over the past two decades to pass this type of legislation, but all previous attempts have failed to gather enough bi-partisan support often required for a bill to become law. The current version has passed in the Senate, but may not be able to gain the support necessary to pass in the House.
Legislators feel that this federal law is necessary because the majority of states do not have LGBT discrimination in the workplace protections in place. Many municipalities have taken matters into their own hands and passed their own bills, but many workers across the country have no ability to challenge their employers who engage in workplace discrimination.
Texas currently has no statewide laws that deal with LGBT discrimination in the workplace. Several major cities within the state have their own laws that address this type of discrimination to varying degrees. San Antonio has recently passed its own bill, but it does not offer the widespread protections to workers that the federal law would deliver.
Those who oppose this legislation are concerned with the impact that it may have on an employer's religious beliefs. They feel that the laws would force them to hire LGBT individuals, which may go against certain employers' religions. The new proposal does have an exemption for religious affiliations, but it also has proved to be controversial with the bill's opponents.
If you feel that you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, it is important that you speak to an experienced employment law attorney about your situation. An attorney can review your case, and determine if the employer's actions constituted discriminatory practices.
These cases can be very complex, and will often require extensive investigations to learn more about what actually happened in the workplace. You need to work with someone who understands what to look for, and how to prove that you were the victim of discrimination in the workplace.