[JURIST] The Ukrainian Parliament [official website] approved legislation Thursday to protect individuals from sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, removing the last barrier to EU visa-free travel into the country. The bill failed several times [Kiev Post report] before receiving 234 votes, surpassing the requisite 226 votes needed to pass through parliament. The bill will amend the country’s labor code to prohibit discrimination [RFE/RL report] in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and suspected presence of HIV/AIDS. The EU recently urged the passage [WSJ report] of this bill, as it was part of a package of legislation required by the EU for all member countries if they wish to participate in the EU visa-free travel regime.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been a controversial issue in the US. On Wednesday the Obama administration announced support [JURIST report] for legislation that would ban sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace through an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [text]. In July 2014 Obama signed an executive order [text] barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity [JURIST report] but, despite pressure, did not include any exemptions for religious organizations. In November 2013 the US Senate approved [JURIST report] the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) [text], a bill outlawing workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, by a vote of 64 to 32, but it has made no progress in the House of Representatives. The US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) [official website] in July 2013 approved a version [JURIST report] of ENDA.