City Council To Vote On Policy Prohibiting Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation Or Gender Identity

Friday, November 8, 2013

The City Council on Tuesday will not only vote on an ordinance granting benefits to domestic partners, but will also consider a new ordinance that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The new ordinance is designed "to address the history and widespread pattern of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; and to provide a comprehensive prohibition of employment discrimination by the city on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, including meaningful and effective remedies for any such discrimination."

The ordinance says the term “sexual orientation” means homosexuality.

It says the term “gender identity” means "the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth."

It says that nothing in the ordinance "shall be construed to require the construction of new or additional facilities." Councilman Larry Grohn has raised the issue of a male who had a sex change to a female going into the women's restroom.

The ordinance also says, "Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later."

Here is the full text of the ordinance:

ORDINANCE NO. __________
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHATTANOOGA CITY CODE, PART II, CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE III BY INSERTING A NEW DIVISION XX ENTITLED “EMPLOYMENT NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE”.
_______________________________________________________

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Chattanooga desires to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE, That Part II, Chattanooga City Code, Chapter 2, Article III, Division XX of the Chattanooga City Code is hereby amended by inserting a new Division XVI as follows:
DIVISION XX – EMPLOYMENT NON-DISCRIMINATION
Sec. 2-450. Short Title.
This Ordinance may be cited as the “Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinance”.
Sec. 2-451. Purposes.
The purposes of the Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinance are:
(1) To address the history and widespread pattern of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; and
(2) To provide a comprehensive prohibition of employment discrimination by the City on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, including meaningful and effective remedies for any such discrimination.

(1) EMPLOYEE-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term “employee” means an employee as defined in section 701(f) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e(f)); and
(B) EXCEPTION- The provisions of this Ordinance that apply to an employee or individual shall not apply to a volunteer who receives no compensation.
(2) GENDER IDENTITY- The term “gender identity” means the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.
(3) PERSON- The term “person” has the meaning given the term in section 701(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e(a)).
(4) SEXUAL ORIENTATION- The term “sexual orientation” means homosexuality.
Sec. 2-453. Employment Discrimination Prohibited.
(a) Employer Practices- It shall be an unlawful employment practice for the City—
(1) To fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; or
(2) To limit, segregate, or classify the employees or applicants for employment in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment or otherwise adversely affect the status of the individual as an employee, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
(b) Training Programs- It shall be an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against any individual because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the individual in admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training.

(c) No Preferential Treatment or Quotas- Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed or interpreted to require the City to adopt or implement a quota on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sec. 2-454. Retaliation Prohibited.
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employee of the City to discriminate against an individual because such individual made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this Ordinance.
Sec. 2-455. Construction.
(a) Employer Rules and Policies-
(1) IN GENERAL- Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to prohibit the City from enforcing rules and policies that do not intentionally circumvent the purposes of this Ordinance, if the rules or policies are designed for, and uniformly applied to, all individuals regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
(2) SEXUAL HARASSMENT- Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to limit the City from taking adverse action against an individual because of a charge of sexual harassment against that individual, provided that rules and policies on sexual harassment, including when adverse action is taken, are designed for, and uniformly applied to, all individuals regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
(3) CERTAIN SHARED FACILITIES- Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.
(4) ADDITIONAL FACILITIES NOT REQUIRED- Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed to require the construction of new or additional facilities.(5) DRESS AND GROOMING STANDARDS- Nothing in this Ordinance shall prohibit the City from requiring an employee, during the employee’s hours at work, to adhere to reasonable dress or grooming standards not prohibited by other provisions of Federal, State, or local law, provided that the employer permits any employee who has undergone gender transition prior to the time of employment, and any employee who has notified the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition after the time of employment, to adhere to the same dress or grooming standards for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning.
BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That this Ordinance shall take effect two (2) weeks from and after its passage, as provided by law.
Passed on second and final reading:_____________
_______________________________


Tanker Truck Crushes Pickup In Collision On Broad Street

A pickup truck was crushed under a tanker truck after a collision on Broad Street at 25th Street on Monday afternoon. However, the driver of the Dodge Ram was able to climb from the wreckage. He apparently suffered only minor injuries.   (click for more)

Accused Animal Hoarder Geoffrey Peterson Back In Custody

A man facing animal cruelty charges in both Sequatchie and Hamilton County is back in jail. Geoffrey Peterson has returned to the Sequatchie County Jail. He got out in December after posting bonds on animal cruelty and possession of morphine charges. That related to the hoarding of some 70 dogs and other animals. He later signed the dogs over to animal shelters. Officials ... (click for more)

Tennessee Deserves Better Health Reform

Tennessee needs health care reform. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," was not the best solution for Tennesseans. That is why the vast majority of Tennessee legislators never publicly supported the plan defeated in a special legislative session in February.   It is important to distinguish health care from health insurance. As one physician ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cameras Or Subterfuge?

State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) is an easy-to-like member of the Tennessee Legislature and the fact he is teaming with state senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) to rid the state of its loathsome traffic cameras is indeed a wonderful thing. The legislative action is long overdue, with the biggest winners being the out-of-state camera companies. That alone is just about all you ... (click for more)

Tre Tiller Scores 22 To Lead Central To Region 3-AA Basketball Championship

There just must be something about playing basketball at Chattanooga State that makes the Central Purple Pounders click. Especially when the opponent is the Brainerd Panthers. Facing Brainerd for the fifth time this season and second at Chattanooga State on Monday night, the Purple Pounders defeated the Panthers for the third time. The latest conquest may have ... (click for more)

Greater Chattanooga HOF: Chairman John Farr To Step Down Class of 2015 Induction Dinner is Tonight At Convention Center

For chairman Dr. John Farr, tonight’s annual Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame dinner is the close of his decade of strong leadership.   A hall of fame board member since 1993, Dr.Farr plans to continue to hold a seat on the board, but has decided to step down as chair.   “I have enjoyed my 10 years as chairman, but I think it is time to let someone else ... (click for more)