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California employers watch Senate on worker discrimination bill

A bill that would end LGBT worker discrimination throughout the United States was seen as possibly going to a vote in the Senate. Specifically, sexual orientation discrimination, as well as that based on gender identity, would be banned under the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The bill was passed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, with its support divided along partisan lines.

A Senate aide said that a chamber vote on ENDA was one of the things that would be possible in September. The bill, however, has not yet been the subject of a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. ENDA earned sporadic attention when introduced during several congressional sessions. Hearings also have been held on the bill. But there's been no vote on the measure in either chamber of Congress since November 2007. In that year, it passed the House by a vote of 235-184.

At the time of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions vote, federal law banned employment discrimination based on sex, race, religion, age, disability or national origin. The federal government, however, did not have a ban on sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination. In the 33 states that also don't have such a ban, employees can be denied a promotion, harassed or fired for the sole reason that they identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Violations of workplace rights can ruin careers and lives. An attorney experienced in litigating workplace discrimination cases may be able to help those affected by arranging compensation for damages suffered at the hands of an employer or its representatives. These damages could result from anything from the initial harassment or subsequent retaliation against the employee for reporting the harassment.

Source: Huffington Post, "Employment Non-Discrimination Act Set For 'Possible' Senate Vote In September", Jennifer Bendery, August 15, 2013

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