By a vote of 64-32, the Senate voted on November 7, 2013 to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would prohibit employers, employment agencies, and labor unions from using an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for employment decisions. The scope of the protections provided and procedures for enforcement are nearly identical to those under Title VII. Interestingly, however, the legislation specifically provides that claims based on a disparate impact theory will not be permitted. Although passage by the Senate takes the legislation one step closer to becoming law, its prospects in the House appear dim. Speaker of the House Boehner has indicated that he does not intend to allow the legislation to come up for a vote. Employers in Illinois should note that the Illinois Human Rights Act already prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the Chicago Human Relations Ordinance and Cook County Human Rights Ordinance prohibit discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.
Senate Passes ENDA. House Unlikely to Follow Suit.