If the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passes, hiring managers will need training on how to avoid new types of discrimination.
The bill was introduced to the Senate Wednesday and was previously introduced to the House on June 24.
If passed, the bill would ban workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people as well as transgender individuals.
ENDA is similar to existing discrimination laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — for example, it prohibits retaliation and would cover companies with 15 or more employees. The bill also includes exemptions for religious organizations in some cases.
One of the trickiest parts for employers may be enforcing dress codes. The bill says companies won’t be required to relax their standards, but will have to let transgender employees “adhere to the same dress or grooming standards for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning.”
Will it pass?
The bill’s been introduced several times before, but ENDA may have the numbers on its side this time, with 152 co-sponsors in the House so far, 38 in the Senate, a Democratic majority in Congress and the support of the President.
Experts say the bill has a chance to become law by the end of this year.
What should HR do?
If ENDA passes, HR will need to:
- Offer training to managers on interviewing and hiring in compliance with the law, as well as handling potentially uncomfortable situations (for example, learning a job applicant is a transgender person), and
- Review harassment policies and add provisions related to sexual orientation and gender identity.