The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
ENDA Talking Points
What is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)?
This legislation would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to
fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees simply based on a person’s sexual
orientation or gender identity. It would reinforce the principle that employment decisions
should be based upon a person’s qualifications and job performance.
Why the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)?
- Across the board, the majority of Americans believe employment decisions
should be based on a person’s qualifications and work ethic. And it goes
inherently against our American values to fire someone based solely upon who
- Almost 90% of Americans believe that gays and lesbians should have equal rights
in job opportunities. And that is why a majority of Americans believe the federal
government should act to end workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender workers.
- As long as it does not interfere with their work, employees should be able to love
whomever they chose without having to fear losing their job. The bottom line
should be focused on an employee’s work ethic and qualifications – not on their
- This legislation does not prevent employers from firing lazy and incompetent
employees. It simply gives all Americans a fair shake at working hard to get
ahead without discrimination or bias.
Where do America’s business leaders stand on the issue of workplace discrimination?
- Most of America’s smartest business minds understand that a person’s sexual
orientation has nothing to do with their job performance. That is why a majority
of America’s largest employers have already implemented this policy.
Unfortunately, Congressional action is needed because there are still too many
jobs where Americans can be fired simply for being who they are.
- Federal law is lagging seriously behind the real-world policies that corporate
America are already has in place:
- As of March 2007, nearly 90 percent (433) of the Fortune 500
corporations included "sexual orientation" in their non-discrimination
policies, compared to just 6 in 1990.
- As of March 2007, a quarter (124) of the Fortune 500 corporations
included "gender identity" in their non-discrimination policies, compared
to just 3 in 2000.
- As of January 2007, a majority (265) of the Fortune 500 corporations
offered health benefits to employees' domestic partners, more than twice
as many as in 2000.
- Not only is federal law lagging behind corporate America but it is also being
outpaced by what many local leaders are already implementing in their
- By 2006, at least 276 cities and towns, and 17 states, across the country
had added workplace protections that protected against discrimination
based on sexual orientation in both public and private sector jobs.
Corporate America’s Record of Support for ENDA
- 2000 – 23 U.S. corporations support passage of federal workplace
antidiscrimination law including: AT&T, Eastman Kodak, General Mills,
Honeywell, Merrill Lynch and Microsoft
- 2002 -- 4 U.S. corporations testify in support of anti-discrimination law before a
U.S. Senate committee: Eastman Kodak, FleetBoston, Hewlett-Packard and Shell
- 2004 -- 49 U.S. corporations and 55 small businesses support passage of federal
workplace anti-discrimination law including: BP, JP Morgan Chase, IBM, Levi
Strauss, Nationwide, Nike and Yahoo!
- Religious organizations, opposed to homosexuality, will have to compromise
their beliefs and hire gay people.
REBUTTAL: ENDA contains explicit language permitting religious employers to
require that their employees adhere to the tenets of their religion. The language
recognizes that the U.S. Constitution protects certain employment decisions of religious
organizations and that some religious organizations may have a specific and significant
religious reason to make employment decisions, even those that take an individual’s
sexual orientation or gender identity into account.
- This legislation would create thousands more lawsuits and hurt small
businesses across the country.
REBUTTAL: Experience with state laws has shown this not to be true. According to a
2002 study of states with non discrimination laws by the Government Accountability
Office (GAO), there simply has not been a notable increase in litigation. Also, ENDA
does not apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees.
- Why should we give gay employees “special” protections not available to
REBUTTAL: The right to work is not a “special” right, and that is why we already have
civil rights laws protecting against many forms of discrimination including race, religion,
gender, disability, and national origin. ENDA doesn’t give “special” rights, but puts
GLBT Americans on the same footing as everyone else.