On Tuesday, May 11, the Nevada Senate approved AB221, a bill that would outlaw workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals in Nevada. The bill passed the Senate in a close vote of 11 to 10, and on April 18 passed the Assembly 29 to 13.
AB221 adds gender identity and expression to Nevada’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which already includes protections for sexual orientation. This bill is not only good public policy, it is especially important because there are no federal protections for LGBT Americans in the workplace. Unless a state passes additional protections, qualified, hard-working people in the American workforce can be denied employment, fired, or otherwise discriminated against because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Besides being necessary and good public policy, the bill has “tremendous symbolic importance,” said ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Dane Claussen. “AB221 reflects where we are today as we move toward a more perfect union."
AB221 now heads back to the Assembly to reconcile the slightly different version passed by the Senate. It will then head to the Governor’s desk where we hope that it will be signed, adding Nevada to a small but growing list of states where good employees are protected in the workplace, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.