COLUMBIA, S.C. — A bill protecting all workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity will be introduced in the South Carolina House of Representatives next Tuesday, according to staff at a state LGBT equality group.
“All hardworking people in our state should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families,” South Carolina Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson said in a release. “Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.”
The legislation, the Workplace Fairness Act (H. 4025), is being introduced by state Rep. James Smith (D-Richland), a leading employment and civil rights law attorney. Smith and and Wilson will be joined at a Tuesday press conference by employment law specialist M. Malissa Burnette and Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina.
Neither federal law nor state law in South Carolina protect LGBT workers from discrimination. Federal lawmakers re-introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act this week. The federal legislation has been introduced in nearly every session of Congress since 1994. Advocates in North Carolina have been pushing similar legislation in the state. North Carolina’s proposal would cover only state workers and teachers. It is not likely it will be heard this session.