Passing ENDA and the Pay Check Fairness Act Would Benefit Workers

February 7, 2014

In President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, he set forth an agenda promising to make 2014 a year of action. He also expressed his commitment to civil liberties and civil rights. Included in his goals was pay equity for women and economic security for families.

One of the changes many advocates seek is passage of the Employment Non Discrimination Act and Paycheck Fairness Act. Passing these laws would provide much needed legislative support to female and LGBT workers.

These laws would help all Americans earn the wages they deserve. If you believe you may have faced discrimination at work, consulting with a dedicated Atlanta discrimination attorney right away is critical to protect your rights.

EDNA is legislation proposed in the United States Congress that seeks to end discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and would make such discrimination illegal.

EDNA would prohibit an employer from refusing to hire, fire, or take any other adverse action against a worker based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Similar restrictions also would extend to employment agencies and labor organizations.

Obama has previously expressed support for ENDA, stating “Workers should not fear being fired from their jobs, harassed at their workplaces, or otherwise denied the chance to earn a living for themselves and their families, simply because of sexual orientation or gender identity…This legislation would, for the first time in this Nation's history, make explicit in Federal law such guarantees, which are consistent with America's core values of fairness and equality. Passage of this bill is long overdue.”

Additionally, the PayCheck Fairness Act seeks to close the gap on male/female income disparity in the United States. The bill amends the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and bans retaliation against employees who disclose or inquire about their wages.

Passing these provisions would create significant – needed - protections for many workers who still face discrimination and retaliatory measures if they complain. In fact, research shows that more than half of American workers are either explicitly prohibited from or strongly discouraged from talking about their pay with their co-workers. As a result, in many instances women don’t realize their compensation is less than men who do the same jobs, making it impossible for them to challenge discriminatory practices.

Obama has stated that he will issue an executive order increasing the federal minimum wage. Issuing an executive order promoting these employment laws would help additional workers protect themselves from discrimination.

For more information about legislative efforts to prevent employment discrimination or if you believe you have suffered discrimination at work, please contact the top Georgia employment discrimination lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm LLC for an immediate consultation.