The American Chemical Society (ACS) is concerned about the lack of employment security for our nation’s scientists and engineers who are members of sexual minorities, and in a larger context, for all our nation’s workers. The Society has reviewed the subject, formulated this policy document, and recommends that federal legislation support the following provisions.
ACS believes that employment should be free of discrimination based upon an individual’s perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. Employment decisions including hiring, firing, promotions, compensations, and others should be based upon an individual’s performance.
Currently no federal law protects individuals from this kind of discrimination. A number of employers in the chemical and allied industries and at public and private educational institutions have already moved to include sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity in their anti-discrimination policies. Unfortunately, it remains legal to fire an individual in 30 states because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, gender expression and identity are almost completely unprotected in the workplace. Hence, professionals and working people are being denied employment on the basis of something that has no relationship to their ability to perform their work.
ACS recommends that federal employment discrimination protections currently provided based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability be extended to include sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity. The scope should extend fair employment practices—not special rights—to all sexual minorities. Provisions should apply to public and private employers, employment agencies, labor unions, Congress, and presidential employees.
ACS supports reasonable accommodations for religious institutions and small businesses, as well as measures that simplify compliance and administrative procedures for covered employers.