Tim Cook urges Congress to approve Employment Nondiscrimination Act in open letter

By , Nov 4, 2013

Tim Cook (Senate hearing 001)

In a rare occurrence, Tim Cook has spoken out in support of the pending Employment Nondiscrimination Act. The CEO penned an open letter, which ran in the Opinion section of The Wall Street Journal last night, urging Congress to approve the END Act.

The legislation would prohibit a number of civilian, non-religious companies in the US from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And in his letter, Cook explains that a safe welcoming work environment is good for business…

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

“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.

As we see it, embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights. It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. 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.

Apple’s anti-discrimination 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. 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.”

While Cook is more vocal on workplace equality than Steve Jobs ever was, Apple’s support of it isn’t anything new. The company has long offered health benefits to employees in same-sex relationships, and in 2008 it donated to the “No on Prop 8″ campaign.

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on ENDA later today.

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  • Ricky

    that picture makes me laugh very hard

    • misterz

      Seriously, when was the last time we saw an Apple employee in a suit and tie?

    • appl3h4ck3r

      It is quite hilarious….suit and tie…and the name tag kills me: “Mr. Cook” baha

  • http://www.friv2friv4.com/ Friv 2 Friv 4

    I love TIM COOK, he is my idol.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Was this supposed to sound like a free advertisement for how Apple treats and respects people better than the law requires them to?

    • Hyr3m

      Noooooo, not at all : “do the best work of their lives.” They don’t have to check their identity at the door, WE DO.

  • Jacob Galea

    Another reason why I love apple!

  • Todd Sorensen

    Yea, all we need is more government regulations controlling our lives.

  • Rowan09

    No more laws. People right now are not suppose to be discriminated for the color of their skin, but they are discriminated. I totally disagree with the gender identity statement because nothing makes me more pissed off than a man trying to be a woman. I was watching one the Ms US shows and a man was on the show, one of the contestants was upset because she said he’s a man in a woman pageant. I’m all for non-discrimination but not gender identity.

    • Jeremy

      I don’t want to start a debate or anything but just hear me out. I’ve always supported human rights issues, including LGBT issues. I was just never educated on what gender identity is or what being transgender means. I’m going to assume that you are male since the comments sections are predominantly male as far as I can see. Okay, so this is just an example but imagine you never felt comfortable in your own body or skin and just everything in general didn’t feel right, you never wanted to take your shirt off at the pool/beach for fear of people looking at your chest because you didn’t want them to even though your biological sex is male. Just imagine living in fear constantly because others might hit you or yell at you and in some cases murder you. It’s tough being transgender and I’ve never really bothered looking into it until recently that one of my closest friends identified as being male and has always felt that way since we were in elementary school. Gender identity is determined by what’s in between your ears (brain), not in between your legs. You don’t have to like the idea of being transgender but support them having basic equal protections just as much as anyone with disabilities or being born with a different skin color or being from a certain country.

      • Lance Baker

        Well said. Thank you for being a wonderful person.

      • Rowan09

        If being a gender is determined by how you feel, we can’t define gender at all. I never said kill, harm, or discriminate against anyone, I support everyone having to right without the fear of losing their lives or harm. If I being a guy feels like a woman today and want to walk into a woman restroom or play in the WNBA why should I not be allowed? We need rules and regulations and it should not he based on social reasons because those change all the time. Slavery was always wrong but it was socially accepted, we do not want to make social norms, moral obligations. Being a father I do not like the direction this country is going in and we are making these social norms dictate what’s wrong and right. Please don’t feel as if I’m acting anyone for their sexual preference because that’s each individual’s choice.

      • Jeremy

        Well if you feel like you’re a man and you know you’re a man then there is no need for you or me or any other that knows they are and feel they are a man. But if someone who was born a man feels that they aren’t a man and don’t feel comfortable being in the body they are in then they should feel free to change themselves to who they truly are. And gender isn’t black and white and neither is your sexual orientation, they’re both a giant spectrum and you’ll fall somewhere on that spectrum, it’s not just one or the other.

      • Rowan09

        Dude are you serious? How exactly do you “feel” like a man? It’s ok to be whatever you want to be, but to say as long as I feel a certain way it’s ok. Come on a male is born not created by some doctor or individual. When a child is born people decide the gender by their private parts? How could I see a baby boy and say well I don’t know what he or she is because I have to see how he or she feels first? Man it’s worst than I thought.

      • Kurt

        In CA if you want to go to school and one day say you are a girl and no longer a boy you can start using the girls bathroom. Why do we not respect the real girl’s feelings. Soon, the next rights they will try to pass will be marriage with children. Gingsberg, the crazy on the supreme court thinks its ok for 12 year olds to have sex with adults. People are being brainwashed by Hollywood and don’t even realize it. in 20 years, it went from 25percent to about 50 percent approve of gay marriage. Why such a drastic change? Every show has gays and they are always shown in a good light. Always the cool/funny/successful person. Christians are always shown as dumb/weird.

      • Rowan09

        Kurt we disagree a lot but I totally agree Bro.

      • Kurt

        We always agree on the important issues though.

      • Rowan09

        That’s true.

    • Falk M.

      Then I pledge to have people not give jobs to close-minded nutwings like you. :)
      I’m very tolerant, but not towards intolerant people.

      • Rowan09

        What am I not tolerant off? Jeremy said being a boy or girl is not based on what’s between your legs, how ridiculous is that? I don’t understand why if I disagree with someone’s lifestyle I’m intolerant. Call it what you want but it doesn’t mean I want anyone to be harmed for whatever decision they make. I hope you’re tolerant to everything not only homosexuality.

      • Falk M.

        Sex (not the thing you have in bed ^^) is no lifestyle.
        You said you don’t get your head around the concept of people being born in the wrong body. That’s okay as long as you’d be willing to understand it or at least didn’t flat out ignored it.
        Fair enough, if you don’t wish anything bad to anyone, then that’s amazing, but your original post made it seem that way, maybe I didn’t really get you.
        Oh I am tolerant to anything under the sun, anything that implies tolerance at least. Where does homosexuality come from though? This is about sexual identity, not sexual orientation :)

      • Rowan09

        You cannot be born in the wrong body. This is one of the many problems homosexual supporters face. If being a heterosexual and homosexual is equality right, no matter the outcome it will always be the “right” way. How can you define “wrong” with no basis of what’s right? Who defines what’s right, is it the indivudual or society? You can’t mention being born in the wrong body when homosexual supporters are fighting that both opposing ideas are equally right.

      • Falk M.

        Ah ok, I think we’ve been on different thinking paths here. :)
        I think you’re misunderstanding this whole thing.
        Your sex is independent of what you are into (which sex you like or even both or none).

        This is not about gay people trying to fit better to the sex they prefer.

        This is about people feeling completely as BEING the other sex and their body being the opposite, causing all sorts of identity problems.

      • Rowan09

        Ok got you.

  • D R

    This is sad-funny, because Apple is being sued for colluding with other big tech firms to not hire people from each other, to keep salaries down…

    So, they want to keep employee’s equal, but underpaid.