As promised during her campaign, Mayor Madeline Rogero is asking City Council to beef up the city's non-discrimination hiring policies to include protections for four new classes: disability, ethnic origin, gender identity and sexual orientation. (Press release after the jump.)
Because it applies to city employees and applicants only, it does not run afoul of a new state law that prohibits extending such protections to city contractors. That law was passed to nullify a Nashville ordinance that prohibited contractors doing business with the city from discriminating against workers because of their sexual orientation.
When asked, Mayor Rogero had no comment on the legislature's more recent refusal to repeal the law, but today's actions are a pretty good indicator of where she stands. The law came up in a meeting between Gov. Haslam and mayors from the state's four major metropolitan areas. Citing wage standards as an example, Mayor Rogero said "It's another of those bills that preempt local authority. We would like to have more autonomy on the local level and have the state let us make the decisions on what's best for us."
City of Knoxville Press Release
CITY PROPOSES EXPANSION OF NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICIES
Mayor Madeline Rogero is asking City Council to add four categories to the City of Knoxville’s non-discrimination employment policies: disability, ethnic origin, gender identity and sexual orientation.
"In my campaign and at my inauguration, I said my administration welcomed and represented all of Knoxville," Mayor Rogero said. "By strengthening the City’s own non-discrimination policies, we will help ensure that City government is a place where everyone is valued and respected."
The non-discrimination policies will apply to all City employees and candidates for employment. Existing City ordinances already prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, or creed. The amended policies will be presented to City Council for approval at its April 17th meeting.
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