Equality Virginia & ProgressVA Launch SupportSB701.org
Website supports McEachin-Ebbin bill to protect state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers Today, ProgressVA and Equality Virginia announced the creation of Support SB701.org, an online collaboration to end workplace discrimination for state employees.
In Virginia, it’s currently legal to hire or not hire based on perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Senators Donald McEachin and Adam Ebbin are introducing SB701 in the 2013 General Assembly to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees from discrimination. “Employment and advancement should be solely dependent on job performance. No one should be subject to discrimination on the job, including sexual orientation or gender identity. Now is the time to move forward and protect our state workers,” McEachin said. “ALL Virginians deserve equal opportunity, fairness and justice.” On SupportSB701.org, citizens will be able to send a note to their legislators with a message of support. ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl said the online partnership is in line with both organizations’ missions. “We’re seeing more online platforms moving offline action,” Scholl said. “This is the first step in making sure our Commonwealth is affirming and supportive to all of its citizens. SB701 helps create that environment to invest in our communities and improve our future.” There are currently no protections at the state or federal levels specifically for sexual orientation and gender identity and Virginia is quickly falling at a competitive disadvantage behind the rest of the nation. “This is about making Virginia a place for top talent,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish said. “While this legislation only covers state employees, we believe this is the first step to protecting all employees.” Currently, most major private sector employers in Virginia and 16 other states, including neighboring Maryland, and the District of Columbia have workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. More than 163 counties and cities prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity. Virginia currently has no legislative policy protecting any public employee from discrimination on the job - whether based on sexual orientation, or age, race, religion, disability, or gender and Virginia is one of only 20 states where you can still be fired from a state or local job simply because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Quick Facts: Non-Discrimination Policies in Business
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- 88% of Fortune 500 Companies have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation
- 57% of Fortune 500 Companies have policies that also include gender identity and expression
- 80% of Virginia’s 25 largest private employers have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation
- 60% of Virginia’s 25 largest private employers have policies that also include gender identity and expression