A group of 72 lawmakers in the U.S. House submitted a letter earlier this week calling on President Obama to issue an executive order instituting federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in the workplace. The administrative action would require that all companies doing business with the U.S. government enforce non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity.
"This order would extend important workplace protections to millions of Americans, while at the same time laying the groundwork for Congressional passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a goal that we share with you," the lawmakers wrote. The executive order would be similar to that of ENDA, but much more limited, in that it only applies to federal contractors.
The letter was written by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), with Rep Lois Capps (D- Calif) and retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) as original signers. "The opportunity to expand protections against workplace discrimination to members of the LGBT community is a critical step that you can take today, especially when data and research tell us that 43 percent of LGB people and 90 percent of transgender people have experienced workplace discrimination," the lawmakers wrote in the letter. They are joined by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the first non-LGBT civil rights group to add its support.
Both the Labor and Justice Departments have given full approval for this action and have submitted their recommendations to the Obama administration for final action. The White House has been silent on the issue.
Media Resources: Chicago Phoenix, 4/5/12; Care2 4/5/12; Chicago Phoenix 4/3/12; Washington Blade 2/1/12