5 LGBT Workers Who Experienced Legal Workplace Discrimination

Written by Preston Mitchum

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a critical piece of legislation that aims to prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA has been introduced in every session of Congress – except once – since 1994, and almost two decades later, a federal law that protects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community still does not exist. Last month, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee voted 15-7 to advance ENDA to the full Senate floor this fall. This could be the first time ENDA has received a full Senate vote since 1996.

Far too often, LGBT workers are not hired, not promoted, or, in worst cases, fired from their jobs solely due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, and not based on employment qualifications. If passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, ENDA would protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, and it could start to repair the “broken bargain“ of discrimination, fewer benefits and more taxes that LGBT workers experience daily.

Here are five LGBT workers who have suffered from employer bias, sexual harassment and discrimination in hiring/firing:

1. Mia Macy explains how anti-transgender discrimination caused her to lose a job for which she was fully qualified:

2. Sam Hall discusses the verbal and physical harassment he experienced when coworkers discovered he was gay:

3. Kylar Broadus recounts the unreasonable demands from his employer immediately after he began transitioning from female to male:

4. Kimya Afi Ayodele describes the inappropriate questions her interviewer asked about her relationship status and how she was explicitly fired because she was lesbian:

5. Brooke Waits enlightens Members of Congress how she went from being a highly-praised employee to out of a job on the basis of sexual orientation:

These LGBT workers were five of many who have been discriminated against solely based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and not on factors related to job performance.

ENDA is about making the workplace a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for hardworking Americans. The law would simply extend protections to LGBT workers that already apply to discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is no special treatment involved in fixing the broken bargain that fuels inequality for LGBT workers.

Employees should be judged on their qualifications and the merits of their work, rather on their sexual orientation and gender identity. As the stories of these five employees illustrate, workplace discrimination is a real problem that hurts real people and has no place in society. Like other workers, LGBT workers deserve the chance to thrive in a workplace and not be subjected to harassment, bias and other forms of discrimination. For this reason, Congress should pass ENDA to provide workplace protections to LGBT workers and to end the broken bargain that many encounter every day.

Individuals should not discrimination of any sort in the workplace. Sign this petition to tell Senate this message and pass ENDA.

Preston Mitchum is a Policy Analyst for LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

awesome article. thanks

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

Depressing read--thanks

Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago

I hope ENDA is enacted and soon since nobody should be discriminated against for any reason and that includes sexual orientation and identity. I've also signed the petitions encouraging ENDA to be passed.



Vicky P.
Vicky P4 years ago


DIane L.
DIane L4 years ago


JL A4 years ago

Sad that it can still happen without protections--may the Senate succeed in getting ENDA to the President's desk to sign

Jen Matheson
Past Member 4 years ago

Wow. This has to be one of the best articles I've seen on Care2 in quite some time. It's so hard to watch those video segments and yet this is absolutly essential viewing.

To anybody who doesn't think ENDA should excist watch these videos. All it's about is letting people work. Most bigots I know are always going on about how people should be working. So watch these videos and you will see that these are good people who like work. That's all.

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber4 years ago

Oh and a hint. If you don't like a civil country where everyone is protected under the law & want a libertarian paradise, where you can do as you want & there's NO government oversight, go to the 2 countries that have the closest thing to a libertarian paradise you can find on the planet.

Haiti and Somalia. Somehow I doubt the anti-oversight type will do so though, as the reality of their libertarian wishes, doesn't match their wet dreams of it one tiny bit.

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber4 years ago

It's the government's JOB description to regulate how businesses behave. This is where you get things like employment minimum standards, minimum wages, hours of work laws, ALL of which are there to protect PEOPLE over business interests. Contrary to the assumptions of some, businesses are NOT about helping people. They're about maxing out their profits.

In short, if government doesn't regulate business to FORCE them to act within the law, who will? HINT, it's the government that MAKES the laws. Courts only enforce them. AKA major fail there Adam S.

Adam Schmidt
Adam S4 years ago

While it's sickening that these things happen, it's even more sickening that people think government has a right to force companies how to act. That's more power than the government deserves or knows what to do with. Be careful what you ask for.