Ban Discrimination

Yesterday, the Senate, with the help of seven Republican senators, advanced a bill banning discrimination against gays in the workplace. In more than half of the states in the U.S., it is still legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender. Alas, the chances of the legislation seeing any time on the House floor is slim to none. Jordan Weissman, in a piece titled “There Is No Good Reason to Let Companies Discriminate Against Gay Workers” writes:

Unfortunately, the Workplace Nondiscrimination Act looks good as dead in the House, where Speaker John Boehner has already voiced his opposition with a bit of anti-regulatory boilerplate. “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” his spokesman told the press. Generic as the statement might be, though, it’s also a bit ironic. The one thing that that reasoned opponents and supporters of the bill both seem to agree on is that, no, it probably won’t cause many lawsuits.

How do they know? Because in the 21 states (along with the District of Columbia) that have passed legislation protecting gays and lesbians in the workplace, there’s only been a trickle of litigation. That’s according to the Government Accountability Office, which analyzed data from 2007 to 2012. In California, for instance, 19,839 employment discrimination complaints were filed in 2012. Only 1,104 involved sexual orientation.

Andrew Sullivan is lukewarm about the legislation, saying in so many words that he doesn’t think the law will make a measurable difference, though he says he hopes it passes.

Photo: betty x1138



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