In June Congressman Barney Frank (DMA) and ten other members of Congress introduced the Employment Nondiscrimination Act of 2009 (H.R. 2981). The Act states its purposes as follows:
(1) to address the history and widespread pattern of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by private sector employers and local, State, and Federal government employers;
(2) to provide a comprehensive Federal prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; and
(3) to provide meaningful and effective remedies for employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Applies to any private employer engaged in commerce and having 15 or more employees (the same coverage rules as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964).
- Prohibits “employment discrimination” based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Employment discrimination is defined to include any failure or refusal to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Defines sexual orientation to include homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. It defines gender identity as “the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
- Specifies that “it shall be an unlawful employment practice for a covered entity to discriminate against an individual because such individual (1) opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this Act; or (2) made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this Act.”
- Clarifies that nothing in the Act shall be construed to require the construction of new or additional facilities.
- Specifies that nothing in the Act “shall prohibit an employer from requiring an employee, during the employee’s hours at work, to adhere to reasonable dress or grooming standards not prohibited by other provisions of Federal, State, or local law, provided that the employer permits any employee who has undergone gender transition prior to the time of employment, and any employee who has notified the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition after the time of employment, to adhere to the same dress or grooming standards for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning.”
The Act contains the following exemption for religious organizations: “This Act shall not apply to a corporation, association, educational institution, or society that is exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 pursuant to section 702(a) or 703(e)(2) of such Act.”
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