Congress Considers Legislation Banning Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

The Senate and House are considering legislation to ban employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 is intended to amend Title VII, which currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, religious discrimination. In addition, the bills would ban retaliation against an employee for complaining of sexual orientation discrimination.

The proposed statute would not apply to religious organizations or the military.
Despite the current absence of federal protections against sexual orientation discrimination, New York State’s Human Rights Law and New York City’s Human Rights Law each prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The passage of federal prohibitions against such discrimination would benefit those employees living in states or municipalities that have not enacted laws banning sexual orientation discrimination.

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