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100 top companies support ENDA, facing Senate panel mark up

WASHINGTON – The nation’s leading corporations are continuing to stand up for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would provide workplace protections to the LGBT community.

Currently, there is no federal law prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin joined Hilton Worldwide and a number of other business leaders in North Carolina today as Hilton became the 100th major corporation to join HRC’s Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness. The growing coalition is made up of U.S. employers who support ENDA.

“Business leaders have long been pioneers for equality, and that continues to be the case in the wake of recent landmark marriage equality rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Griffin said. “Employers know it’s just bad for business to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that’s why so many of the nation’s leading corporations are supporting ENDA. As the Senate begins consideration of this critical legislation, we must turn our enthusiasm into action that can have a meaningful impact on the lives of LGBT people.”

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to mark up ENDA on Wednesday, July 10. The committee is chaired by longtime champion for equality Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

“One hundred prominent companies have now taken a stand: workplace fairness includes banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Harkin said. “I applaud the many businesses, large and small, that have publicly affirmed their commitment to a federal standard for workplace equality. The Senate HELP Committee, which I chair, will vote on a fully-inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act on Wednesday, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Human Rights Campaign as we move forward with this important legislation.”

An overwhelming supermajority of Americans – nearly 75% – support employment protections for LGBT people. Support for employment protections is high across virtually every demographic – including 66% of Republicans, 74% of independents and 74% of Catholics.

Businesses have long recognized that embracing and promoting equality isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also smart for their bottom line. 88% of Fortune 500 companies have sexual orientation non-discrimination policies and 57% have gender identity non-discrimination policies.

A full list of participants in the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness is available at the HRC website.