For Immediate Release - November 10, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley Urges Support for the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions yesterday urging support for Senate 1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009 (ENDA), legislation that would expand the protections granted under federal civil rights laws to ensure that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is expressly and uniformly prohibited nationwide.

"Our workforce is at its strongest when individuals are able to work and contribute in a safe environment free from the fears of mistreatment and discrimination," said Attorney General Coakley. "Companies with extensive antidiscrimination policies are able to attract and retain the most qualified people, save money, and maximize their workforce's productivity. This legislation not only makes good business sense, it has the potential to improve the lives of individuals in every state."

View PDF of Attorney General Coakley's letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:

The legislation currently before the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee would address discrimination in the workplace at the federal level, making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote an employee on the basis of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. ENDA seeks to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes for the purposes of federal civil rights laws related to employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Attorney General's Office is committed to ensuring equal access and fairness in the workplace and upholding antidiscrimination policies under the law. Since taking office in January 2007, Attorney General Coakley has vigorously advocated for the rights of the LGBT community, and has brought actions to protect individuals whose rights have been violated based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In July 2009, Attorney General Coakley's Office filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, unfairly excluding more than 16,000 Massachusetts married same-sex couples and their families from critically important rights and protections based on marital status. The Attorney General has also opposed a state constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, and fought for state legislation to amend hate crime and non-discrimination laws to protect the civil rights of transgender people.

For additional information regarding civil rights and employment laws, please visit the Attorney General's website .

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