As the U.S. Senate considers symbolic, if ultimately futile federal legislation that would ban discrimination against gay workers, Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar has commissioned a report taking a bottom-line business look at the issue.
“Discriminating against LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] workers is not only morally wrong, it’s also bad for business and hurts our economy,” Klobuchar said as part of the rollout of a four-page report on the economic impact of workplace discrimination.
The report was prepared by the Democratic staff of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, of which Klobuchar is vice-chair. Although the committee’s name gives it a vaguely bicameral and bipartisan air, Republicans on the panel, including U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., had nothing to do with it.
The Democratic-led Senate is expected to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) this week with some Republican help. But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he will not bring the bill to the House floor.
The report appears to anticipate the arguments of House Republicans, some of whom have pivoted from traditional moral objections to homosexuality to opposition based on states’ rights or ENDA’s potential for bad-for-business litigation.
Though ostensibly “Klobuchar’s report,” the document is a compilation of existing research, including a 2013 Pew Research Center survey finding that one in five LGBT employees say they have experienced some form of workplace discrimination.
The report also cites a 2007 Level Playing Field survey finding that employee turnover due to various forms of workplace discrimination costs U.S. companies about $64 billion a year.
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U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken praise passage of Senate legislation that bans discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But a U.S. House vote on the measure is unlikely.