Putting an ENDA to workplace discrimination

You would think that any employee who performs well in the workplace would be rewarded with a raise or promotion. Such an exemplary employee would never have to labor under the shadow of termination. You would assume that’s just common sense and sound business practice, right?

You might be wrong. Over half the states in America—a country which allegedly takes pride in equality of economic opportunity—do not protect workers from discrimination due to their sexual orientation.

In other words, even the best employees can be fired simply for being gay. Or lesbian. Or transgender.

Passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would remedy that situation on a national scale. The Senate will likely vote in support of ENDA this week.

But, like most common-sense legislation that finds favor with a majority of Americans, ENDA might just wither on the vine and die in the obstructionist, do-nothing House of Representatives controlled by a tiny minority of Tea Party Republicans.

At least one local activist from the State of Washington is doing his darndest to see that doesn’t happen.
Seattleite Brad Delaney started a pro-ENDA petition on MoveOn.org urging folks to apply pressure on their members of Congress to see that ENDA comes to a vote and is successfully passed.

Why is Delaney so passionate about this cause? “I am gay and I can’t fathom the thought that in over 29 states LGBT people can be fired just because of who the are or who they love,” he wrote in a recent email interview. “I believe that your work performance should dictate whether or not you have a job, not who you go home to at night.”
Delaney claims to know of several instances in which employees were discriminated against, including one example where someone was fired outright simply because she told her boss that she’d soon be transitioning.

“I would like to see LGBT workers treated as equals to their straight counterparts in the workplace,” says Delaney, who assisted with last year’s successful effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.

So how can others help promote workers’ rights regardless of sexual orientation?
• Call your legislators, particularly those of a more conservative bent, immediately and often. Remind them that equal economic opportunity is a basic American principle, while bigotry is not.
• Write letters to the editor and speak out on social media. Share your thoughts and experiences.
• Patronize those businesses that promote workplace equality and avoid those that don’t. Here’s an excellent guide from the Human Rights Campaign: http://www.hrc.org/corporate-equality-index.
Tea Party Republicans don’t like it when courageous citizens like Brad Delaney stand up for causes “We the People” proudly support, like workplace equality.

For Tea Party Republicans, it seems that “liberty” is a word reserved for rich, white, straight folks.

Maybe those Tea Party Republicans in Congress deserve to be fired for poor job performance.

Originally published at Examiner.com

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