Tim Cook on Anti-Discrimination Bill: ‘Matter of Basic Human Dignity’

Tim Cook

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook took a principled stand for workplace equality in a commentary he recently penned for the Wall Street Journal. Cook wrote the op-ed in support of Employment Nondiscrimination Act, or ENDA, that seeks to end employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a key procedural vote is required on the bill this evening in order to move it forward in the Senate.

In his commentary, Cook cited the ideals of “basic human dignity and civil rights,” as well as more practical business considerations. “It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business,” explained Cook. “We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.”

Cook noted that Apple’s anti-discrimination policy already includes the protections offered in ENDA, but he would like to see those protections extended to all U.S. workers. Cook pointed out that the harmful effects of discrimination can extend far beyond the individuals that are specifically targeted. “But ultimately we all pay a price,” wrote Cook in the Wall Street Journal.

“If our coworkers cannot be themselves in the workplace, they certainly cannot be their best selves. When that happens, we undermine people’s potential and deny ourselves and our society the full benefits of those individuals’ talents,” argued Cook. The Apple CEO also noted that ignoring the issue is tantamount to approving this type of discrimination. “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,” wrote Cook via the Wall Street Journal.

Cook wasn’t the only prominent person to speak out in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. President Barack Obama penned his own commentary for the Huffington Post that urged Congress to “put an end to this form of discrimination once and for all.”

The bill also appears to have the support of most of the American public. According to a 2011 poll cited by the American Civil Liberties Union, 73 percent of likely voters supported legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in the workplace.

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