According to a recent article, High Hopes for Bill Aimed at Ending GLBT Job Bias, Congress is closer than even before to making it illegal to discriminate against gay Americans in the workplace.

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon is getting ready to reintroduce a bill to end anti-LGBT employment discrimination. Senator Merkley will ask for a vote in the Senate this Thursday for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and feels optimistic about the 60 votes needed to pass it. Merkley has on his side four other senators, Democrats Tom Harkin and Tammy Baldwin, and Republicans Susan Collins and Mark Kirk.

The bill is not new, having first been introduced in 2002.

According to the article:

“Merkley said he has spoken with several Republican members beyond Kirk and Collins, although he would not say who they were, broadly noting, “I do feel like there is a warming feeling, a sense of momentum when it comes to folks’ willingness to take a stand against discrimination.”

The bill will also be reintroduced in the House on Thursday, but faces more opposition from Republicans there. Senator Merkley feels that strong support for the bill in the Senate will send “a strong message” to the House.

The bill could be signed into law by President Obama in May or June.

Unfortunately, gay people are still facing employment discrimination all the time.

Auditor Denied Fair Pay

Just this past January, Air Transport Association of America was named as a Defendant in a lawsuit filed by Stephen Farina, as reported by Washington Blade’s Gay employee sues airline association for discrimination.

Farina, a longtime employee of the Air Transport Association of America [also known as Airlines for America or A4A] claims he was paid a much lower salary [he’s an auditor] than others, because he is gay.

A4A denies the charges.

Farina started with A4A in 1992, making $29,000 as a staff auditor, but worked his way up to Director of Industry Audits and made $68,000. Others in the industry with similar job titles make between $100,000 and $160,000, according to Farina. He spent almost four years trying to get paid fairly.

Beloved Teacher Fired for Being Gay

Carla, Hale, a high school Physical Education teacher in Ohio for 19 years, lost her job after she put her partner’s name in her mother’s obituary, according to High School Fires Teacher After Her Partner’s Name Appeared In Her Mother’s Obituary.

Hale teaches at Bishop Watterston High School, a Catholic school.

A parent’s anonymous letter to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Ohio caused Carla Hale to lose her job. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, “teachers can be terminated for ‘immorality’ or ‘serious unethical conduct.’”

Hale feels strongly the termination is unfair. She told reporters,”Bishop Watterson is an amazing place to be, with the staff, the faculty, it’s a very positive environment. If it wouldn’t have been for my mom’s obituary and my partner’s name being Julie and not Chris or Pat or whomever, I wouldn’t be in this situation right now.”

Hale’s students have rallied to her defense, and created a petition stating, in part:

Discrimination is something that people have fought for generations. The most prominent form of discrimination in today’s society is discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Carla Hale, a beloved teacher at Bishop Watterson High School, was fired because of her sexuality. She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The school, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her.

A Facebook group has also been started to support Hale.

Hale, who is not Catholic, filed a grievance seeking her job reinstated. On April 24th it was denied. Thomas Tootle, her attorney, said “they are exploring other legal options.”

If you or someone you know thinks they have experienced discrimination due to their sexual orientation, James Radford can help. Contact James by phone at (678) 369-3609 or email at james@jamesradford.com.

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