Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yes, you can still be fired for being gay or transgender in TN

In an otherwise wonderful piece in today's Tennessean on the hiring practices of a local charity, there was an important error:

Today, that has changed. New employees at World Relief have to prove they are Christians. They sign a statement of Christian faith and must get a letter of recommendation from their minister before being hired. At most workplaces, that would be illegal.But religious nonprofits, even those that get government grants, get special exemptions. They can hire and fire employees based on their religion or sexual orientation — something other employers can't do.

Yes, other employers in Tennessee can fire you for being straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. There are no employment laws at the federal, state, or local level that would protect a Nashvillian or anyone in Tennessee employed in the private sector from being fired on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. That's precisely why the GLBT community is pressing so hard for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA. Individual employers have inclusive policies such as AT&T, Vanderbilt University, and now Metro government, but there is no blanket law covering everyone.


Ben Vos said...

Just ask Robin Smith - she'll tell you all about it.

Chris Sanders said...

Oh, Lord! Do we have to talk to Robin?

Julia said...

Just to keep this in perspective, some religious non-profits do not practice this. I work for one and I'm out at work and everyone is respectful and could care less.

I'm not saying its good business practice to fire people based on religion or orientation but its not all of them.