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Rep. Mike Villarreal Files Legislation to Prevent Hardworking Texans from Being Fired Just Because They Are Gay or Transgender
Posted on December 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Legislation adjusts existing Labor Code to protect gay & transgender people just as it currently protects people based on race, religion, sex, national origin and disability

Austin, Texas (December 3, 2012) – State Representative Mike Villarreal of San Antonio today filed legislation [HB 238] to amend the Texas Labor Code in order to provide equal employment protections for gay and transgender employees.

“An overwhelming majority of Texans believe that everyone should be judged on their capabilities and job performance,” said Representative Villarreal.  “Hardworking, high-performing employees should not be fired just because they are gay or transgender.”

Rep. Villarreal’s  legislation does not create a new statute. It simply adjusts the existing Texas Labor Code to protect gay and transgender employees, just as it currently protects people based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and disability.

Employment protections enjoy mainstream and corporate support. Most major Texas-based companies already extend employment protections to their gay and transgender workers, including American Airlines, AT&T, BMC Software, Clear Channel Communications, Comerica, Dell, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, JCPenney, Nokia, Rackspace, Shell, Spectra Energy, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments, and Whole Foods Market.

“Equality is how we do business at Dell,” said Lisa Mink, Dell’s Chief Diversity Officer.  “A commitment to diversity and inclusion has always been, and will continue to be, a competitive advantage in Dell’s business strategy.  We do not believe that people should be fired solely because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”

“Most people incorrectly  assume that it is already against the law to fire someone solely because they are gay or transgender,” said Chuck Smith, Executive Director at Equality Texas. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is no statewide law in Texas to prohibit someone from being unfairly fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.  HB 238 would help protect hardworking Texans from being unfairly fired.”