Workplace Discrimination Against Gays Set to be Outlawed

August 1, 2001 ( - The Employment Nondiscrimination Act, banning workplace discrimination against homosexuals, was introduced in Congress Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy (D- Massachusetts) in the Senate, would prohibit public and private employers from using sexual orientation as the basis of decisions to hire, fire or promote workers.

Further, it would allow workers to pursue limited remedies similar to those in the Americans With Disabilities Act, but would not permit affirmative action remedies for violations.

Religious organizations, the military and businesses with fewer than 15 employees would be exempt from compliance with the Act.

Supporters of the bill expect the Senate to vote on it this year but remain uncertain of its future in the House of Representatives. Similar legislation narrowly missed Senate approval in 1996, but no such bill has ever come close to passage in the House.

– Camilla Klein