El Senado de los Estados Unidos aprueba la Employment Non-Discrimination Act para prohibir la discriminación laboral de las personas LGTB

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Hoy os queremos contar una buena noticia. El 7 de noviembre el Senado de los Estados Unidos aprobó la ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act). Os reproducimos la noticia tal y como ha sido recogida por el diario EL PAÍS así como dos artículos del Huffington Post USA sobre este asunto. Uno de ellos es un artículo que en su día publicó el presidente Obama en el mismo Huffington Post. 

El Senado de EE UU prohíbe la discriminación laboral contra los gais

Un total de 17 Estados cuentan con legislación que permite a las empresas despedir a un empleado por su orientación sexual

EL PAIS – El Senado de Estados Unidos aprobó este jueves una ley que prohíbe la discriminación laboral contra gais y lesbianas. La legislación, que contó con el apoyo de senadores de ambos partidos y todavía debe ser refrendada por la Cámara de Representantes, puede marcar un nuevo e importante avance en la lucha por la igualdad de derechos de los homosexuales.

“La victoria de hoy es un homenaje a todos aquellos que lucharon por este progreso desde que se presentara por primera vez un proyecto de ley similar, hace más de tres décadas, tras los incidentes de Stonewall”, aseguró el presidente, Barack Obama, en un comunicado tras la aprobación de la ley. Obama ha pedido al Partido Republicano que retire su oposición al texto y no “obstaculice el camino de millones de estadounidenses que quieren ir a trabajar cada día y que se les juzgue simplemente por su labor.

La legislación federal estadounidense prohíbe la discriminación laboral por razón de sexo, raza, religión y nacionalidad, pero no por orientación sexual. Un total de 17 Estados cuentan con leyes que permiten despedir a un empleado por ser homosexual. “Esto supone que millones de estadounidenses van al trabajo cada día con miedo a perderlo por ser quien son”, explicaba esta semana Valerie Jarrett, asesora de la Casa Blanca. El proyecto de ley End Discrimination Act (ENDA), aprobado esta tarde con 64 votos a favor y 32 en contra, quiere acabar con esa situación.

“Es inaceptable”, declaró este fin de semana el presidente Obama en una columna publicada en The Huffington Post. “Es ofensivo, está mal y necesita terminar porque en Estados Unidos quién eres y a quién amas nunca debería ser justificación de despido”. Este jueves, el líder demócrata en el Senado, Harry Reid, defendió el avance de la legislación como la aprobación de una ley “que los estadounidenses ya creen que existe”.

La aprobación final de la ley ENDA se podría convertirse en el último paso de un año histórico para el movimiento por los derechos de los homosexuales en EE UU, después de que el Tribunal Supremo respaldara en junio la igualdad que merecen los matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo. El presidente Obama se ha referido al “enorme” apoyo con el que cuenta entre la población y asegura que el día que en que él pueda firmarla “nuestra nación dará un nuevo paso histórico hacia el cumplimiento de los ideales que nos definen como estadounidenses”.

Sin embargo, la mayoría republicana de la Cámara de Representantes puede convertirse en el gran obstáculo para cerrar el año como sueñan los defensores de los derechos de los homosexuales. El presidente de la Cámara, el republicano John Boehner, ha asegurado que no está de acuerdo con la legislación y que ni siquiera propondrá a votación el texto aprobado por el Senado.

A pesar de que la ley ENDA cuenta con el apoyo de varios senadores republicanos, los opositores al proyecto han alegado que puede perjudicar duramente a la economía de las pequeñas y medianas empresas -argumentan que la legislación hará dispararse las denuncias por despido- y que las organizaciones religiosas deberían estar exentas de su cumplimiento. Una enmienda que consideraba esto último fue rechazada minutos antes de la votación final en el Senado.

El proyecto de ley que ha estudiado esta semana el Senado fue planteado por primera vez hace más de 20 años por el senador demócrata Ted Kennedy. Desde entonces, hasta ahora, cuando ha sido apadrinada por una coalición bipartita, la legislación prohíbe la discriminación laboral contra homosexuales y transexuales -incluidas aquellas personas que se encuentren en un período de transición de género- en todos los niveles empresariales y gubernamentales, así como en otro tipo de organizaciones.

La ley ENDA ha sido respaldada además por los principales medios de comunicación del país. Este fin de semana, el diario The Washington Post se adelantaba a las críticas republicanas argumentando que la Oficina de Supervisión Gubernamental ha registrado cifras “relativamente bajas” de demandas en aquellos Estados que han aprobado leyes que prohíben a las empresas despedir a un trabajador por su orientación sexual.

“El Senado está listo para aprobar la ley ENDA y garantizar que los empleados son valorados por su rendimiento, no por prejuicios. La Cámara de Representantes debe seguir el ejemplo”, escribió en Twitter la líder demócrata Nancy Pelosi, representante de California.

HUFFTINGTON POST –  Author and expert in the field of critical thinking and mental toughness training

President Obama Is Right: We Must Pass ENDA

President Barack Obama wrote an outstanding blog post on The Huffington Post, giving his reasons why we must pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA. This new law would make it explicitly illegal for employers to make employment decisions (e.g., firing, hiring, promotions, compensation, etc.) based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

ENDA would extend federal employment discrimination protections currently provided based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability to sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s important to note that ENDA isn’t offering any special rights but simply fair employment practices for LGBT employees.

In 2013 it’s absolutely repulsive that 29 states don’t explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that 33 states don’t explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. It’s also part of the reason why so many American men and women are living lives of secrecy, afraid to admit who they really are. The United States is known as the “land of the free,” yet in some ways we’re anything but free. It’s time for all LGBT men and women to stop having to live in fear and worry that if their employer “finds out,” they’re going to lose their job.

Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely at the Center for American Progress write, “Studies show that anywhere from 15 percent to 43 percent of gay people have experienced some form of discrimination and harassment at the workplace. Moreover, a staggering 90 percent of transgender workers report some form of harassment or mistreatment on the job.” If that isn’t bad enough for you, consider these statistics from the Williams Institute:

  • Eight to 17 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers report being fired or denied employment because of their sexual orientation.
  • Ten to 28 percent of LGB workers received a negative performance evaluation or were denied a promotion because of their sexual orientation.
  • Seven to 41 percent of LGB workers were verbally or physically abused or had their workplace vandalized because of their sexual orientation.

Behind these statistics are the heartbreaking stories of hardworking Americans who are outstanding at what they do but were let go or had to overcome unnecessary obstacles because of a discriminating employer. Even in states that currently have laws making this kind of discrimination illegal, it’s sometimes not enough. There are stories all over the Internet of people being fired, demoted or passed over for a promotion simply on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Critical thinking is simple on this one: Your sexual orientation or gender identity should have absolutely nothing to do with your career. The only thing that should matter? Your job performance. There are so many very qualified, talented and hardworking Americans who happen to be LGBT. And so what if they are? Does it really matter? Of course it doesn’t, and that’s precisely why it’s imperative that Congress pass ENDA. The good news: The majority of Republicans and Democrats back ENDA.

It’s time to put a stop to workplace discrimination and singling out some of our best employees simply on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Any employer or person who fails to see that is exhibiting bigotry, discrimination and hatred.

As President Obama said, “[This kind of discrimination is] offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.” The president got it 100-percent correct this time!

HUFFTINGTON POST – President of the United States

Congress Needs to Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act 

Here in the United States, we’re united by a fundamental principle: we’re all created equal and every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. We believe that no matter who you are, if you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve the chance to follow your dreams and pursue your happiness. That’s America’s promise.

That’s why, for instance, Americans can’t be fired from their jobs just because of the color of their skin or for being Christian or Jewish or a woman or an individual with a disability. That kind of discrimination has no place in our nation. And yet, right now, in 2013, in many states a person can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

As a result, millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are.

It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.

That’s why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill has strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans. It ought to be the law of the land.

Americans ought to be judged by one thing only in their workplaces: their ability to get their jobs done. Does it make a difference if the firefighter who rescues you is gay — or the accountant who does your taxes, or the mechanic who fixes your car? If someone works hard every day, does everything he or she is asked, is responsible and trustworthy and a good colleague, that’s all that should matter.

Business agrees. The majority of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses already have nondiscrimination policies that protect LGBT employees. These companies know that it’s both the right thing to do and makes good economic sense. They want to attract and retain the best workers, and discrimination makes it harder to do that.

So too with our nation. If we want to create more jobs and economic growth and keep our country competitive in the global economy, we need everyone working hard, contributing their ideas, and putting their abilities to use doing what they do best. We need to harness the creativity and talents of every American.

So I urge the Senate to vote yes on ENDA and the House of Representatives to do the same. Several Republican Senators have already voiced their support, as have a number of Republicans in the House. If more members of Congress step up, we can put an end to this form of discrimination once and for all.

Passing ENDA would build on the progress we’ve made in recent years. We stood up against hate crimes with the Matthew Shepard Act and lifted the entry ban for travelers with HIV. We ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so our brave servicemen and women can serve openly the country they love, no matter who they love. We prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals that receive federal funding, and we passed the Violence Against Women Act, which includes protections for LGBT Americans.

My Administration had stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that discriminatory law. Now we’re implementing that ruling, giving married couples access to the federal benefits they were long denied. And across the nation, as more and more states recognize marriage equality, we’re seeing loving couples — some who have been together for decades — finally join their hands in marriage.

America is at a turning point. We’re not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we’re becoming more just as a nation. But we still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals. As I said in my second inaugural address, our nation’s journey toward equality isn’t complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the content of their character.” That’s what ENDA helps us do. When Congress passes it, I will sign it into law, and our nation will be fairer and stronger for generations to come.

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