03/01/2013 12:57:55 PM EST
Phoenix Adds Sexual Orientation as a Protected Class – Ordinance G-5780
The City of Phoenix added "sexual orientation" and
"gender identity or expression" to the groups of protected classes under local
law. The non-discrimination provisions prohibit discrimination in (1) employment;
(2) public accommodations; (3) housing; (4) city construction contracts; and
(5) city supplier and lessee contracts. Additionally, "disability" was added as
a protected class to the provisions addressing employment and public
accommodations - as it already appeared in provisions 3 through 5.
The City Council Report, Policy Agenda, identifies the
proposed definition of "sexual orientation" which refers to "an enduring
pattern of emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to men, women, or both
sexes as well as the genders that accompany them and shall include
discrimination based upon the identification, perception, or status of an
individual's same-sex, opposite sex, or bi-sexual orientation." "'Gender
identity or expression' means an individual's self-identification as male,
female, or something in between, and shall include an individual's appearance,
mannerisms, or other characteristics only insofar as they relate to gender with
or without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth."
The effective date for Ordinance G-5780 is March 26,
2013. The ordinance, once signed, must be indexed before being made public.
Therefore, it will not be online until next week. I believe some amendments
were made, so you will want to check back and make sure the definitions
described above remain consistent in the final version.
Many employment handbooks have provisions stating that
companies will also comply with any local or state laws, but Phoenix companies
may want to consider whether they need to revise their employee handbooks and
be more specific as to these new protected classes.
You might recall that I previously wrote how the EEOC identified in its Strategic
Enforcement Plan that the EEOC was focusing its time and energy on coverage of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex
discrimination provisions. Ordinance G-5780 makes it clear that - whether it is
specifically addressed or protected by federal law or not - Phoenix employers
are prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on their sexual
orientation or gender identity or expression.
Read more articles on employment law issues
at Employment and the
Law, a blog by Ashley Kasarjian.
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