Exposing My Own Ignorance

I have to admit that when I saw this post on the Box Turtle Bulletin about David Hill being fired from his job simply for being gay, my first thought was “this can’t possibly be legal”:

A man said he was fired from his hotel job for his sexual orientation and claims the owner who let him go dared him to sue.

David Hill is looking for a new job after he said he was fired Tuesday from a former Brentwood Holiday Inn, which now goes by the name Artee Hotel.

“They literally said to me because of my orientation and my alternative lifestyle, that I was not a fit for the hotel,” said Hill.

Hill said he used to be the human resources director and is shocked at the owner’s decision to dismiss him because of his sexual preference.

“The owner (Tarun Surti) said, ‘I don’t give a damn. They can sue me. I will not have any of the gays in leadership roles in my hotel.’ And that’s a quote,” said Hill. 

Embarrassingly, it took a co-worker to point out that, in fact, this is entirely legal thanks to the consistent failure to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act:

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) offers Congress the opportunity to ensure workplace equality by protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination. ENDA is pending federal legislation that would ban employment discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation. The bill protects workers from discriminatory hiring, firing, promotion or compensation practices, as well as retaliation for reporting such practices.

Considering that I work at People For the American Way and have actually mentioned ENDA numerous times in my writings, it’s extra shameful that I never realized this … but I didn’t.  

And since I am probably not the only one who has never made this connection, I offer up this post exposing my own ignorance in an effort to point out that this sort of thing can and does happen and hopefully debunk the Right’s claims that ENDA is little more than a nefarious effort to grant “special rights” to gays in the workplace:

A U.S. House vote is just around the corner on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — a bill that gives homosexuals special rights in the workplace. ENDA would add “sexual orientation” to a list of federally protected classes that includes race and religion.

“My race is being compromised, in that gays are saying that they need protected status just like someone who’s of a race that they can’t change,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, president of the High Impact Leadership Coalition.

“This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, this is a moral values issue, and it’s an issue of the integrity of the civil rights movement.”