Earlier today PFLAG National sent the following letter to all 435 House members encouraging them to support ENDA. The letter asks the representatives to do three basic things: 1) support the base bill, 2) ensure that it remain inclusive, and 3) help end the delays to advancing it.
On behalf of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National’s more than 200,000 members and supporters, I am writing to request your support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 – H.R. 3017. PFLAG families are committed to making sure that our children and loved ones are protected from workplace discrimination. We urge you to take action and end the employment discrimination that disadvantages our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) loved ones in these tough economic times by supporting this legislation.
Anecdotal and empirical evidence reminds us that our LGBT loved ones face a disproportionate rate of workplace discrimination and lack adequate remedies in federal law. ENDA would prohibit workplace discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote an employee simply because they are LGBT. This legislation mirrors existing federal civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and therefore would cover private employers with more than 15 employees, as well as federal, state, and local governments, unions, and employment agencies. The U.S. Military, as well as religious organizations, quotas, disparate impact claims and domestic partner benefits would all be exempted.
We would also like to stress to you the importance of passing a fully inclusive ENDA that includes strong gender identity protections for those most vulnerable in our community. Our colleagues at the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force recently completed a national survey measuring employment discrimination experienced by over 6,500 transgender people. The preliminary findings are absolutely shocking. Of those respondents fortunate enough to find employment opportunities, 97 percent experienced some form of mistreatment or harassment on the job. Additionally, 15 percent of the respondents reported earning less than $10,000 per year, which is twice the national average. In addition, the majority of respondents also reported that lack of job security lead to housing instability and barriers to affordable and accessible healthcare.
LGBT people need to work to live and support their families just like everyone else. They deserve to be judged based on their work performance, not based on who they are. ENDA can help fix these problems by making it illegal to discriminate in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Please help by ending the delays and bring this bill to a vote in the House this year. This legislation is vital, and is a top priority for all of us at PFLAG. Should you have any questions about this bill, please contact our Policy Manager, Rhodes Perry, at (202) 467-8180 ext. 221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jody M. Huckaby