Bennet Helps Advance Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Bill Garners Bipartisan Support in Senate HELP Committee

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined a bipartisan group of senators on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination (ENDA) Act, which would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill was reported out of Committee in a 15-7 vote.

“The fundamental issue of fairness is a bedrock principle of this nation. We should not tolerate discrimination based on any characteristic. Yet we openly allow it in the case of sexual orientation,” Bennet said. “Our communities and our country are stronger when everyone has an equal opportunity to pursue employment and provide for their families. ENDA will help us achieve fairness and equality, and we will work to pass it in the full Senate.”

Current federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability. Courts, however, have held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Currently, 17 states including Colorado and the District of Columbia have enacted statutes that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while another four states bar job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation alone.