Tim Cook: Workplace equality is good for business; one reason why congress should support the Employment Nondiscrimination Act

“Long before I started work as the CEO of Apple, I became aware of a fundamental truth: People are much more willing to give of themselves when they feel that their selves are being fully recognized and embraced,” Tim Cook writes for The Wall Street Journal. “At Apple, we try to make sure people understand that they don’t have to check their identity at the door. We’re committed to creating a safe and welcoming workplace for all employees, regardless of their race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation.”

“Apple’s antidiscrimination policy goes beyond the legal protections U.S. workers currently enjoy under federal law, most notably because we prohibit discrimination against Apple’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees,” Cook writes. “A bill now before the U.S. Senate would update those employment laws, at long last, to protect workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Cook writes, “We urge senators to support the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and we challenge the House of Representatives to bring it to the floor for a vote… So long as the law remains silent on the workplace rights of gay and lesbian Americans, we as a nation are effectively consenting to discrimination against them. Congress should seize the opportunity to strike a blow against such intolerance by approving the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.”

Read more in the full article here.

90 Comments

  1. Good for Tim Cook. It beggars belief that someone can still be fired just for being gay in many states in a nation that touts itself as the Home Of The Free. I suspect some of you will think that this is just more government interference and that business owners should be allowed to choose who they hire and fire and just as importantly why, however IMO it isn’t really freedom if only a few people get to exercise it, especially if they then exercise that freedom right into the private lives of their employees. ENDA is good for the USA and good for Americans, just as equivalent legislation across the Western World has been beneficial in every country that has enacted it.

    1. Tim Cook conspicuously does not mention respect for people who espouse a religious belief. So much for the enlightened leader of Apple who is a bigot against those who do not share his anti-religious sentiments.

      1. Many very religious people have no problem with those around them being LGBT and also think ENDA is a good move. Cook is not being anti-religious for taking a side in a debate that the entire Christian world is having with itself.

        1. Amen! You are free to lead your life with your own beliefs, but to try to force them upon others is not allowed. If your beliefs are so strong and ‘correct’ then you should easily be able to convince all others to follow them without the need for government intervention.

        1. A lot of you liberals have plenty of attitude, and all of it bad, but you do not have much knowledge or discernment.

          Religious beliefs are only protected in the Constitution (at least in theory) from GOVERNMENT interference. That is not the same as protection in the private sector.

          Moreover, this “anti-discrimination” act is a violation of the freedom of religion. Government has no business telling what the acceptable criteria are for hiring and firing someone in a privately owned business. If a Christian business owner has a policy of not hiring fags, then they have a right to do that. It is, after all, THEIR business, and no one else’s.

          1. No they don’t. US law supercedes religious dogma. If you don’t like that then may you ought to convert to Islam and more to Saudi Arabia where religion and government are one in the same.

            1. Yes they do. The Constitution is supposed to guarantee the free exercise of religion. So U.S. law DOE NOT supersede religious belief. You lose.

              Moreover, allowing the free exercise of religion is not equivalent to making government and religion “one and the same.” The fact that you don’t understand this means you are stupid.

              Liberal dogma is one and the same with our government, which is a violation of the free exercise of religion.

              You may not like that, but I may not care.

            2. I don’t care about Mormon wives. We’re not talking about the institution of marriage or the marriage contract. We’re talking about who gets to set the criteria for hiring and firing in a private business.

              People who value liberty understand that that decision should be entirely in the hands of the individual(s) who own and run the business. But, like everything else, the government just can’t leave people alone, because for well over a century now, it has been steadily acquiring and consolidating power for itself, which of course means less liberty for the rest of us.

              You were saying?

            3. I’m sorry, I should have figured that was too subtle a point for you. Just reaffirms that old saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t teach a stone to think.

          2. Didn’t Jesus say “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”? Didn’t he say that even the prostitute should have equal rights even if she sinned? If you are a Christian, then you ought to take a peek at the Bible sometime. –in this country you do have a a right to be a bad Christian without government interference, but you do not have a right to impose your immorality and non-Christian beliefs on others.

            Why do you behave nothing like the Christ, nor strive to adopt his values, and then call yourself a Christian?

            @Dave H, you said it best:
            “Cook is not being anti-religious for taking a side in a debate that the entire Christian world is having with itself.”

            Not all Christians agree!

            1. Dear SouthRoad,

              You are a presumptuous fool. I know very well what the Bible says, and far more than just a few cherry picked verses ripped out of context and to the exclusion of other passages of Scripture.

              A private business not hiring someone who is a fruitcake is not imposing anything. Why don’t liberals understand this. Government coercing private individuals to hire and fire according to liberal criteria IS imposing someone else’s standard on the business owner.

              This should not be difficult to understand, but with liberals, it’s like trying to explain quantum mechanics to a chicken.

              Liberals have it in their tiny little heads that when Christians are allowed to exercise their freedom of religion, something is being imposed on other people. But when liberal values prevail, nothing at all is being imposed on anyone at all.

            2. You need to change your sentence to: “Government coercing private individuals to hire and fire according to liberal criteria, + such as race, + IS imposing someone else’s standard on the business owner.”

            3. The business should have the right to hire and fire anyone for any reason they choose. Period. End of story.The business does not belong to the damned government. Sheesh, some of you people are thick.

            4. @boris: the business does not, and should not, have the absolute right to fire whoever s/he wants for any reason whatsoever. The business owner and the employee make a bargain – the employee gives his or her labor; agrees to do the job as well as s/he can; to be loyal to the company, etc. The employer agrees not only to pay a salary and provide benefits; s/he also agrees to treat the employee fairly; to obey all relevant laws; not to discriminate; to provide safe working conditions. This is simply the basic bargain of employment that is part of the cost of doing business. The employer makes money out of the employee and in return has to obey the laws.

            5. … accused “liberals” of cherry picking a few verses “out of context”, I’m sure you are ready to provide that context!
              So … only the Gospels – Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John – contain the words of Christ. So, from THOSE BOOKS ALONE, choose a passage where YOU claim Christ was speaking against homosexuals, homosexuality, or any similar concept. Christ had harsh negative opinions about The Top 1% (NOT going to Heaven), so you’d think if He felt unkindly about gays He’d have SAID something!

            6. No. You are as wrong as you can be. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God. That means, the entire Bible.

              There are quite a number of sins that the 3.5 year ministry of Jesus did not cover. That wasn’t what he was here to do.

              Again, you’re cherry picking. You are certainly within your rights to disregard Holy Scripture, or disregard parts of it you don’t like. As for me and mine, we will follow The Lord.

              You may not like that, but I may not care. Your opinions are irrelevant. Only God is God. Not you. Deal with it.

            7. @boris: Was it Ghandi who said “I like your Christ a lot. Your Christians? Not so much.”
              God is undoubtedly a good guy. But his fan club has forgotten what he stands for.

            8. joebloggs,

              You don’t have the slightest clue about God. God is not a “good guy.” He is Holy. And he left His Word for those of us who love Him.

              God is not a liberal. Quit trying to appropriate God. He does not answer to you. Your opinions are worthless that the dirt on my shoe. God is The Judge. Get saved in Christ, or you will burn in hell.

            9. No. You are as wrong as you can be. The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God. That means, the entire Bible.

              If you’ve eaten a bacon cheeseburger or even had an ordinary burger with a milkshake at any point in your life, you’ve already proven how selective you are with adhering to the Word of God.

              In your world, I would be allowed to fire you if I saw you consuming a plate of clam chowder on your own time because it doesn’t conform to my religious beliefs.

              I wonder how long it would be before you’d go running to the local ambulance-chaser claiming wrongful dismissal.

          3. It’s that damned “Commerce Clause.” Don’t let on that I told you, but Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution was snuck into the final draft by SATAN HIMSELF! The mislead founders of the country didn’t notice because they were using a corrupted version of MS Word, which the devil had modified to make such changes invisible to them.

  2. Just as long as your young. They do hire younger people at corporate and at retail only token older people. Tim’s gay go figure the he would champion something that he understands. But give an older person a second look at corporate. It’s not happening.

          1. Why does the business owner, who provides society a service by providing jobs, paying taxes, etc. have no rights, but the guy who woke up one day and decided to start wearing women’s clothes to work get all the rights?

            The U.S.A. is fundamentally flawed. This system inevitably leads to moral decline and a headlong entropy toward revolution.

          2. Yes, JeffH. It’s called liberty. It’s not up to you or to anyone else to determine the acceptable criteria for hiring and firing of employees at a private business.

            It doesn’t matter if you think it’s wrong. It’s STILL none of your business. Liberals have always had a high problem understanding that no one appointed them to be decision makers for the rest of us.

        1. … what? This law merely says you cannot fire someone because they are LBGT. It doesn’t say you can’t fire them. It doesn’t say you must hire them.
          Go back to the pile of whale poop you call home and crawl back under it.

        2. But that “right” was bargained away as part of the deal of employing someone and doing business in this country. The business owner has the intention of making money out of the labor of the employee. The bargain the business owner strikes is not just to pay the employee. The employee gets other rights as well – for example, not to be fired without due cause; not to be discriminated against; to have safe working conditions; and to be treated in accordance with all relevant laws. If the business owner doesn’t like the bargain, no-one is forcing him to be in business. He can go work for someone else.

    1. No, it’s proof that some employers go above and beyond what the law requires.

      It would only be redundant if Apple had about 150,000,000 American employees (or… all of them).

  3. Just because little Timmy is confused doesn’t mean the rest of us are.

    Rand Paul was right, the Civil Rights Act was unconstitutional and businesses should be allowed to serve and employ at their own discretion. Now we find ourselves forced to employ and do business with (like the photographer that was sued for not wanting to work at a gay wedding) homosexuals and other perverts… where will it end?

    Pedophiles may be covered under U.S. Senate “ENDA” Bill

    1. You bring up the wedding photographer example like it’s totally reasonable, but what you fail to grasp is that that is an example of discrimination. Also, that it wouldn’t be covered by ENDA, since the photographer is the employee, not employer.

            1. You are confusing the issue. This is not an affirmative action bill, it is a bill to prevent people who are already employees being fired just for being LGBT.

  4. This would be a great step forward for workplace equality in America, but it seems that Corporate America’s typical HR dept is no where near ready for this.
    Many HR policies are of the “don’t talk about it at work” variety that result in a very awkward situation for not only the transgender employee, but also those working with and around them. One of the main reasons for this awkwardness is the limitations encountered by the layman English speaker in dealing with gender-specific pronouns when referencing a transgendered person.

    I’ve addressed this challenge in the past by simply asking by which pronoun do you prefer to be addressed and it has been successful thus far, but I also work in an environment that is very tolerant and encouraging of individual expression.

    Until it becomes socially acceptable (and HR approved) to ask an individual how they prefer to be addresed, then this type of discrimination will exist regardless of what the law says.

  5. EMPLOYER: “You’re fired!”

    WORKER: “You can’t do that. I’m [fill in the blank].”

    EMPLOYER: “So what?”

    COURT (later): “It is obvious the employer was insensitive to sexual orientation. Judgment for plaintiff.”

    1. A quick google indicates that there are more people not hired or fired purely for being gay than there are that file bogus lawsuits.

      For “gay” you can substitute “black” or “hispanic” and possibly other descriptors.

  6. I like what MacRumors did with this story, they put it in the religious/social section with comments enabled and left the story in their main section with comments disabled so that the fanatics wouldn’t take over with their comments, or, if they did, those who only wanted to read the story wouldn’t be subjected to them.

    Way to go Tim!

    1. Yes, limiting a wide range of viewpoints and filtering speech so that you only hear what you want to hear is a great way to have a well-rounded perspective of reality.

      1. They didn’t limit the discussion. Perhaps you weren’t understanding what I wrote. They moved the discussion to an area where readers would be prepared for it. See the difference?

      2. The PRSI section of MacRumors is not a censored forum. It’s just a part of the site where only those with a history on the forum get to add to the discussion. Any conservatives on that site who wish to express anti-LGBT feelings are just as free to post into the thread as those who support ENDA. All the minimum post count does is deter drive-by posting on either side of the argument and prevent the thread turning into a snipefest.

  7. As the U.S.A continues to rapidly degrade, we constantly see these garbage bills written in euphemistic language. If the U.S. Senate is going to spell out behavior that is protected, why can’t they list it?

    The Senate, particularly Chucky Schumer, should have the balls to state exactly which aberrations he and his fellow degenerates want to protect.

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