Employment Non-Discrimination Act (Enda) Receives Endorsement From American Airlines


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Employment Non-Discrimination Act (Enda) Receives Endorsement From American Airlines

By Bill Goldston

July 17, 2011 - American Airlines, one of the world’s largest global airlines and a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, has again advocated the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). As the first airline to endorse ENDA, American Airlines communicated its support of the bill in 2008 and 2009 in correspondence with Congressional leaders. 

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a proposed bill in the United States Congress that would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees. 

Evidence Discrimination based on sexual orientation occurs at a similar rate as sex and race at 4.7 per 10,000, as compared to discrimination based on sex at 5.4 and race at 6.5.

In states that have discrimination policies in place, LGB complaints are equivalent to the number of complaints filed based on sex and less than the number of complaints filed based on race. ENDA has been introduced in every Congress, except the 109th, since 1994, albeit without gender identity protections, but gained its best chance at passing after the Democratic Party broke twelve years of Republican Congressional rule in the 2006 midterm elections.

 However, some sponsors believed that even with a Democratic majority, ENDA did not have enough votes to pass the House of Representatives with transgender inclusion, and dropped it from the bill, which passed and subsequently died in the Senate. LGBT advocacy organizations were divided over support of the changed bill. 

In 2009, on the heels of the 2008 elections that strengthened the Democratic majority, and after the debacle of the 2007 ENDA divisions, only a transgender-inclusive ENDA was introduced by House representative Barney Frank. Frank reintroduced the bill in 2011. Shortly thereafter, the bill was introduced in the Senate by Jeff Merkley. President Barack Obama supports the bill's passage; former President George W. Bush threatened to veto the measure. 

In its current letter of endorsement, American Airlines stated “on behalf of our 80,000 employees, American Airlines is proud to express our strong support for S. 811 and H.R. 1397, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would extend basic job protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.


We are proud to have been the first major airline to implement same-sex domestic partner benefits, first to implement both sexual orientation and gender identity in our workplace non-discrimination policies, and first to have a recognized LGBT employee resource group – GLEAM. “Our endorsement of ENDA is consistent with our longstanding ‘Statement of Equal Opportunity.’ The principles fostered by ENDA are consistent with our corporate principles in treating all employees with fairness and respect.”

The letter of support was signed by Lauri Curtis, American’s Vice President – Diversity, Leadership and Engagement; Michael Wascom, American’s Managing Director – International and Government Affairs; and Rick Wilbins, Managing Director – Brand and Diversity Markets.

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