On September 23, the House Education and Labor Committee heard testimony presented by the Williams Institute on a bill would end workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill, H.R. 3017 or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), would put into place the first-ever federal ban on employment discrimination of anyone in most workplaces because of sexual orientation.
Alston & Bird was one of 10 law firms assisting the Williams Institute with a 50-state survey researching state laws and job discrimination based on sexual orientation. The research contributions were compiled and used in the presentation by Professor Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute, before the House Education and Labor Committee.
In the hearing, Professor Sears used the data collected in the survey to argue that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation occurs with the same frequency in state and local governments as in any other private workplace in the country. “Our findings clearly demonstrate that discrimination against members of the LGBT community is persistent and occurs at all levels of government,” he said. “This is exactly the kind of data that was presented to support passage of earlier civil rights legislation, and Congress should act now to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
The Williams Institute is a think tank at UCLA Law School that works to advance sexual orientation law and public policy through research.