Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after it was announced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which Merkley authored, will be heading for a floor vote next week.
“We have a chance next week to pass a landmark civil rights bill that will enshrine in law an issue of fundamental fairness: no one should be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination is just plain wrong. Everyone should have the freedom to work hard and earn a living. I am pleased that the U.S. Senate will consider this fundamental issue of equality under the law.”
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 would prohibit employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against those employed or seeking employment, on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. Such protections are already in place prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability.
More than 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies already extend workplace protections based on sexual orientation and more than one-third on the basis of gender identity. In July, ENDA was reported out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in a bipartisan vote.