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Workplace Still Not Welcoming to All Americans



SIOP Passes Official Statement Supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, but unfortunately millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans face discrimination in organizations every day simply because of who they are. Legislation is currently making its way through Congress to address LGBT employment discrimination and has garnered support from President Barack Obama, several members of Congress, and most recently, SIOP.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is designed to protect Americans from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Legislation is currently pending. If passed, the bill would protect LGBT employees from discriminatory hiring, firing, promotion or compensation practices, as well as retaliation for reporting such practices.

“Non-discrimination is an important workplace value, and the evidence shows that discrimination is detrimental to employee well-being and organizational engagement,” said SIOP President Doug Reynolds. “Employers should be aware of these findings.”

SIOP passed an official statement supporting ENDA during its September 2012 meeting in Chicago. The policy statement affirms the Society’s stance on LGBT workplace protection, such that:

“SIOP shall take a leadership role in promoting societal attitudes and behaviors that affirm the dignity and rights, within the United States and globally, of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees;”

“SIOP supports providing a safe and secure organizational atmosphere in which all employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, may serve in their workplace free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse, and which promotes an increased knowledge and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees;”

“SIOP shall advocate efforts to ensure research on the issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees within organizational settings;”

“SIOP supports and urges the enactment of civil rights legislation at the local, state, and federal levels that would offer lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals the same protections now guaranteed to others on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.”

Click here to access the full policy statement.

Legislative efforts to pass ENDA were stalled since 2009 until recently when the bill was the focus of a Senate hearing in June for the first time in nearly 3 years.

“We are talking about a fundamental American value: equal treatment for all,” said Senator Tom Harkin, chairperson of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “Decent, hardworking Americans are being hurt by discrimination every day.”

The Center for American Progress conducted a poll in 2011 asking if American’s support ENDA. Almost three-fourths of voters support workplace protections for LGBT employees, but 9 out of 10 respondents mistakenly believe such protections already exist in federal law.