The anti-discrimination act for employment by Knox County in Tennessee, is to be updated in order to protect LGBT people, despite officials say that such discrimination is already not allowed.
A proposal is to add languaged to the county’s code, which would be written under the section titled “equal employment opportunity”, reports KnoxNews.
The new language will note that the county grants protections to employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and genetic information. All state and local governments are obliged to follow these guidelines anyway, under Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008,
The new language will specifically note that the county cannot discriminate against an employee based on “sexual orientation or genetic information”, encompassing also any genetic disorter in an individual’s family.
“It keeps the ordinances updated and it’s a good thing to do,” said Mark Jones, the county’s director of risk management and human resources. “But, again, we don’t discriminate.”
“We’d like to think that Knox County doesn’t discriminate against anyone for any reasons, but you like to have those protections in place,” said Commissioner Amy Broyles, who is sponsoring the proposal that Knox County Commission will discuss during Monday’s work session.
“Really this is nothing more than housekeeping. We’re just trying to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.”
The same wording will also apply to a section of the county’s code, which sets out probationary periods for employees. During the probationary period, the county may terminate an employee’s contract without the right of appeal, unless due to discriminatory reasons.
Back in May 2012, the city of Knoxville also amended its ordinance to reflect similar practices.
When Knoxville changed its ordinance, around 50 people demonstrated in support of the measure.
“It’s a good policy for our organization,” said City Councilman Marshall Stair at the time, issuing a challenge for other workplaces in the area. “I hope that private firms in the area will follow suit and adopt their own.”