Michelle Obama and ENDA


Inaugural Parade Held After Swearing In CeremonyI liked Michelle Obama’s bangs.

There. I said it.

I also like that Mrs. Obama was heckled at a fundraiser, last week. You know why? She was heckled over a Human Resources issue: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

HR is Political.

Ellen Sturtz, a retired public servant and an advocate for LGBT equality, was hoping that President Obama would sign an executive order providing workplace protections by federal contractors in his first term. That hasn’t happened. And she wants him to keep his promise and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), ending workplace discrimination by all employers.

Ms. Sturtz is still waiting.

My colleagues in Human Resources hate it when I write political blog posts. They tell me that I am not pro-business. They say that businesses should be able to hire freely and that the government should mimic the private sector and hire more selectively.

And HR consultants and practitioners still say things like this:

If you force companies to hire and employe gay people, you have to force them to hire pedophiles, sexual perverts and rapists.

People still say that. This is true.

And I’ve had to jump in and say — Being pro-business doesn’t mean you have to be stupid. Rapists and pedophiles are criminals. Our LGBT colleagues and friends are not criminals. It’s immoral to fire people for being gay. And discrimination is bad for business, whether that’s the private sector or the business of running this country.

HR Should Know Better.

You don’t have to be Martin Niemöller to know that a company that can discriminate against a gay person might one day discriminate against Jews, Mormons or Muslims. And an organization with consolidated power might change the terms and conditions of our employment and start firing people who worship Jesus, Allah, and Buddha — and then start hiring people who believe in Cernunnos, Pan, Atho or Karnayna. And what about companies run by atheists, the Triumvirate or George Soros?

I hear that if you give them enough power and black helicopters, they might discriminate against Evangelical Christians.

Bottom Line?

Human Resources professionals know that discrimination against one is discrimination against all. Checks and balances are a pain-in-the ass for most companies, but they exist for a reason. ENDA is a check and balance on a system that still discriminates against law-abiding LGBT citizens.

And if Michelle Obama is a friend to the gay community, which I think she is, this incident should be a wake-up call. Gay marriage isn’t enough. Equal protection under the law matters.

Great HR people know that, as well.

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