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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Corvallis, Oregon passes gender identity law

On election night, over 60 percent of voters in Corvallis, Oregon backed Measure 02-56, amending their city charter to provide non-discrimination for gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation. Corvallis joins two Oregon counties and six other cities: Multnomah County, Benton County, Beaverton, Bend, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Portland, and Salem. (The HRC laws database over at http://www.hrc.org/worklife/gdsearch doesn't include Hillsboro, but there is one. I've sent them a note.)

Of the 4 Fortune 500 companies in Oregon (Nike, Precision Castparts, Lithia Motors, and StanCorp Financial), only Nike has a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

The list of cities and counties with laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity keeps growing. It's probably a good idea to stop every once in a while and count. How many are there now?

When I search the HRC laws database (http://www.hrc.org/worklife/gdsearch) for cities in any state with an employment anti-discrimination law or policy that includes gender identity and applies to all residents, there are 72 cities, 14 counties and 6 states on the list. There should be a 7th, Washington State which went into effect in June. I've sent HRC a note.

For the sticklers, I note that, while there are 7 states that prohibit discrimination against transgender employee (CA, IL, ME, MN, NM, RI and WA), there are, in fact, 15 states that have state-wide law protecting transgender employees. How can that be? Well, there are 3 more states that have executive orders prohibiting employment discrimination against public employees, though there is no state-wide statute: IN, NJ and PA. (The HRC database doesn't include NJ, but there is one. I've sent HRC a note. What is going on with HRC's database?) Also, there are 6 states with court rulings prohibiting discrimination against transgender employees: CT, FL, HI, MA, NJ, and NY. When you add all these together, that makes 16, no 15 (can't count NJ twice!) (Hey, calling all nerds out there - did I get that right?) (Re Hawaii: although there is or was a bill pending, it hasn't been passed, though the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission seems to be interpreting sex to include some transgender people. Actually, I'm not sure if Hawaii's law is a court ruling or an executive order, or what. Here's the text and you tell me.)

The HRC employer database (http://www.hrc.org/worklife/ndgisearch) shows 435 employers with policies prohibiting gender identity discrimination, including 118 Fortune 500 companies, and 75 colleges and universities.

When I started my research in 2002, there were no states, about a dozen cities, and less than 100 employers on the list.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I'm proud to say that my hometown, Louisville, was one of the first cities to add gender identity to the anti-discrimination policy for all citizens and employers. From the first time the so called "Fairness Ordinance" was introduced, gender identity was included.

Alas, former Governor Paul Patton had by Executive Order extended the rights to all state employees but our current Governor, Indicted Ernie Fletcher rescinded it. So, only Louisville, Lexington and Covington now offer protection. Still, not bad for a Southern state.