Adam Polaski

9 of 10 Voters Think Feds Already Ban Workplace Discrimination

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 08, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Center for American Progress, Connecticut, ENDA, nondiscrimination, trans

watercooler.jpegAs Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy prepares to sign into law a bill that protects transgender people from discrimination, we're seeing a national trend that the population overwhelmingly supports workplace nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community.

The Center for American Progress released poll results last week finding that 73 percent of likely 2012 voters support protecting gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination. Many demographics, including Democrats, Republicans, independent voters, Catholics, and the elderly agreed that sexual orientation and gender identity should be protected.

More interestingly, the study found that 90 percent of the respondents believed that a federal law already existed to protect gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination.

Other studies have demonstrated the prevalence of workplace discrimination for gay and trans people - 15-43 percent of gays said they have experienced workplace harassment, and 90 percent of trans people said the same.

At My Fire Dog Lake, Teddy Partridge explained the enormous problems with this misconception:

No matter how high up in the stratosphere support for enacting workplace non-discrimination laws is, if almost all Americans think those protections already exist, then there will be no pressure -- at all! -- on legislators to enact such provisions.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a federal bill that would make discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation has been proposed in nearly every Congress since 1994. Some of these introduced bills included gender identity protections. In April, the trans-inclusive ENDA was reintroduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Workplace protections already exist federally based on gender, race, age, disability, and veteran status.

The false belief that sexual minorities already enjoy protection from workplace discrimination demonstrates the need for continued reporting and efforts to raise awareness about stories of discrimination. It's nearly impossible to galvanize support for a federal law if such a large majority of people already think the law is in place.

When Gov. Malloy approves the CT bill, as he's promised to do, Connecticut will become the fifteenth state to protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. An additional seven states include only sexual orientation in these protections.

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My experience in transitioning MTF suggests Adam is spot on with his comments. I was fired from the Fulton County Health Department (Atlanta, GA area) for being transsexual approx. six years ago. Everyone I knew assumed I'd sue the county due to the law protecting me. Wrong! The county has no protections for us so we can legally be fired for being TS. I confirmed this with the local EEO office.

Just about everyone I've worked with during my transition over the past several years has told me that TSs have legal protection against bigoted bosses. We do have limited protection in some places but not many.

Tall Stacey | June 10, 2011 10:26 PM

"More interestingly, the study found that 90 percent of the respondents believed that a federal law already existed to protect gay and transgender people from workplace discrimination"

And the religious wrong and our other opponents use this misconception to demonstrate their contention that since we already have equal protections our current quest is for something more than the rest of the people have! Why can't we get our own people to get up to protest? Why can't we get the truth out? Why? Because we are too busy pushing for special interests instead of general equity and justice! What good is a same sex marriage if it provides the proof that gets you fired or thrown out of your home? ENDA Now, for everybody!