GSBA is proud to join our United States Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to urge the House of Representatives to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), as the Senate did last Thursday.
On Friday, November 8 we were honored to stand with Senator Patty Murray, who has been a co-sponsor and champion of this legislation since it was first introduced in 1994, at a press conference at 1st Security Bank different on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. GSBA President & CEO Louise Chernin spoke about the our organization’s work on this issue, along with Washington State Human Rights Commissioner Charlene Strong, Jacque Larrainzar from the Seattle Office of Civil Rights and 1st Security Bank CEO Joe Adams.
GSBA’s guiding principle for over 30 years has been that equality is good business. Recently business has been out front in the equality movement, recognizing that a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to be competitive, to attract the best talent, to have the most productive workforce, to retain employees and to have a broad customer base. Over 90 percent of the country’s largest companies, including federal contractors, say that diversity policies are good for the bottom line. 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies, and 57 percent include gender identity.
Both businesses and the majority of Americans believe that LGBT persons should not be discriminated against in the workplace. Remarkably, most people think that LGBT people are already protected by law from being fired or denied employment based upon their sexual orientation and gender identity. 8 out of 10 polled think that employees should be treated fairly and believe that these protections already exist. Unfortunately, they are wrong. In 29 states it is legal to fire an employee because of their sexual orientation, and in 33 you can be fired because of your gender identity.
Numerous studies by groups like Williams Institute, Pew Research, and Republicans pollster Alex Lundry show that many LGBT workers have been fired, treated unfairly, denied promotions or harassed. Transgender people, in particular, face tremendous levels of harassment, with 78 percent of respondents reporting at least one form of harassment or mistreatment at work based on their gender identity.
A piecemeal approach does not work! State-by-state policies are not enough because discrimination against LGBT persons in the workplace still occur, and are permitted in a majority of states. It is time for consistency in our anti-discrimination policies. It is time to treat everyone equally and fairly. Our Senate has done their job, now it is time for the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Boehner, to get in step with the rest of the country and pass and inclusive ENDA.
GSBA urges its member businesses, community partners, fellow business chambers and individuals around the country to contact their own representatives as well as Speaker Boehner to urge him them to let the House vote on ENDA. Please add your name to this petition and help end discrimination now. It should not be illegal to fire someone based on who they love or who they are.