Employment and Housing Non-Discrimination Act (EHNDA)
EHNDA adds “sexual orientation” to the categories covered by the Human Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination in employment and places of public accommodation; adds “age” and “sexual orientation” to the categories covered by the Fair Housing Act prohibiting discrimination in housing; and defines “sexual orientation” to mean heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression, whether actual or perceived.
2017 EHNDA Legislation & Sponsors:
Senate Bill 77 – Led by Senator Corey Palumbo & co-sponsored by Senator Glenn Jeffries
House Bill 2529 – Led by Delegate Mike Pushkin & co-sponsored by Delegates Walters, White, B., Storch, Westfall, Moore, Kelly, Miley, Williams, Hill and Higginbotham
House Bill 2623 – Led by Delegate Fleischauer & co-sponsored by Delegates Pyles, Brewer, Hornbuckle, Byrd, Rowe, Robinson, Blair, Harshbarger and Pethtel
House Bill 2670 – Led by Delegate Lane & co-sponsored by Delegates Fluharty, Miller, R., Canestraro, Diserio, Evans, E., Love, Barrett, Sponaugle, Baldwin and Caputo
It is still legal in West Virginia to fire someone because of his or her sexual orientation.
Now that same-sex couples may be legally married in West Virginia, they are forced to decide between exercising their right to marry the person they love and their ability to keep a job.
It is still legal in West Virginia to deny housing to someone because of sexual orientation.
Without employment and housing protections, 57,000 LGBT West Virginians are vulnerable to discrimination for simply being who they are.
Non-discrimination is good for business.
Businesses that adopt nondiscrimination principles into their employment policies gain higher recruitment and retention of the best talent, increased employee productivity and higher employee morale. Of Fortune 500 companies, 96 percent have employment policies that include sexual orientation protections and 70 percent include gender identity protections.
West Virginians support non-discrimination legislation.
More than 68 percent of West Virginians believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender West Virginians should be protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. (Public Policy Polling, 2013)
Discrimination against LGBT people DOES happen in West Virginia.
Meet Sam Hall of Kanawha County, West Virginia. For seven years, Sam worked as a committed, hardworking coal miner. Despite his dedication to the job and tireless work ethic, he faced anti-gay insults and threats on his life while at work. The discrimination ultimately forced him out of his job and out of the mining industry.
“I went back and carried these people out of the mines when they got hurt… They didn’t give a damn about me. They didn’t care if I died. It was like, ‘accidents happen’. I’ve heard this before underground, ‘accidents happen every day’. I wasn’t going to be an accident. That was not going to happen, not to me.”