FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal both took to the floor of the Senate this week to support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, which was passed Thursday by the Senate.
Passage of ENDA would broaden federal employment discrimination policy to include protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, said the two Democratic senators from Connecticut.
Passage of the act would eliminate laws in 33 states that allow for LGBT employees to be declined jobs or fired for their sexual orientation. Connecticut is one of seven states with protection for LGBT employees.
Murphy has long been a champion of LGBT rights, co-sponsoring Connecticut’s civil union bill in 2005. Murphy discussed how the passage of ENDA would benefit thousands who face discrimination on a daily basis and how anti-discrimination policies have benefited many of Connecticut’s most profitable companies.
Seventeen of Connecticut's largest companies include gender identify and sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies as a key part of their business’ commitment to worker satisfaction.
Both General Electric and Boehringer Ingelheim, companies headquartered in Fairfield County, explained the importance of recognizing and embracing their employees for who they are.
"At GE we believe that a wide variety of cultural and individual experiences helps GE innovate and deliver the best results. We work to create an inclusive workplace where all employees have the opportunity to reach their growth potential and contribute to the progress of the industries and communities we support. These nondiscrimination protections are consistent with our existing workplace policies,” Deborah Elam, president of Fairfield-based GE Foundation and GE’s chief diversity officer, said in a statement.
“We believe these protections communicate our own beliefs, and benefit the company by retaining talent, supporting our recruiting efforts and marketing our consumer products.”
Paul Fonteyne, president and CEO of Ridgefield- and Danbury-based Boehringer Ingelheim, echoed those sentiments.
"Boehringer Ingelheim is proud to have been a pioneer in recognizing the importance of including gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation in our non-discrimination policies,” Fonteyne said in a statement. “We are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace for all employees, and as a member of the Business Workplace Coalition we fully support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
The House Speaker John Boehner has not set a date for a vote on ENDA, saying the legislation is not necessary.
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