WATCH: Rep. Mike Villarreal talks about Freedom from Workplace Discrimination Act


Rep. Mike Villarreal of San Antonio introduced the Freedom from Workplace Discrimination Act in the Texas House of Representatives (HB655).

The bill will be heard by the Small Business and Economic Development Committee. Most LGBT-related bills are sent to the state affairs committee where they promptly die.

If enacted, this Texas employment non-discrimination law would prohibit employers, employment agencies and unions from using an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression as the basis for employment decisions such as hiring, firing, promotions, compensation or from subjecting an individual to different standards or treatment based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Religious organizations are exempt from the law and would be free to continue discriminating. No preferential treatments or quotas would be established in hiring.

According to a poll conducted for Equality Texas by Glengariff Group, 75 percent of Texas would support a law that made it illegal to deny housing or fire someone because of their sexual orientation. That same poll found that 69 percent of Texans would support a law that similarly protected transgender people.

—  David Taffet