Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on Speaker John Boehner to quickly bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which recently passed the Senate in a bipartisan fashion, to the floor of the U.S. House for an up or down vote. The legislation would bar discrimination against LGBT Americans in the workplace. Casey, a cosponsor of the bill, voted to bring the measure to the Senate floor last week. Speaker Boehner has yet to commit to an up or down House vote on this Senate passed bill.
“This bill is simple. It says that employees should be judged on how they do their job and not who they are,” Senator Casey said. “The Senate came together on a bipartisan basis to end workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans and the House of Representatives should do the same. Speaker Boehner should give this bill an up or down vote on the House floor. I believe it would pass.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
The Honorable John Boehner
United States House of Representatives
Dear Mr. Speaker:
I write to urge you to act swiftly and bring up S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) for a vote in the House of Representatives. As you know, the Senate passed S. 815 on November 7 in a bipartisan vote of 64-32.
Today, in twenty-nine states, including Pennsylvania, you can be fired just for being gay or transgender. A June 2013 Pew Research report indicated that more than one in five LGBT employees has experienced employment discrimination. The absence of basic employment protection for this community hurts hardworking citizens and hampers economic growth, costing employers an estimated $64 billion each year resulting from unnecessary turnover. Many companies, including the majority of Fortune 500 companies, have enacted pro-diversity policies and found that these policies increase profitability. I am proud that many Pennsylvania employers have recognized the benefits of inclusion and taken the lead by voluntarily enacting non-discrimination policies.
ENDA provides a commonsense solution to the problem of workplace discrimination by extending critical employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. The version of ENDA introduced in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1755, currently has 193 bipartisan cosponsors. ENDA has engendered such widespread support because it embodies the American ideal of fairness: employees should be judged on their skills and abilities in the workplace, not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
You have publicly expressed your concern that this legislation will lead to unnecessary litigation. This fear is not founded in the experience of states that already offer employment protection for LGBT workers. A 2013 Government Accountability Office report analyzing discrimination claims in states that offer such protection found that on average, only 3-5% of total employment discrimination claims were based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
With bipartisan support in both chambers, ENDA deserves an up or down vote in the House. All U.S. workers deserve to be judged on the quality of the job they do, nothing more, nothing less. I again urge you to allow a vote on ENDA on the House floor before the end of the year. Thank you for your consideration of my views on this important matter.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator