Memphis Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance for City Employees
October 17, 2012 by Cathryn Oakley, Legislative Counsel, State & Municipal Advocacy
HRC commends the City of Memphis, Tennessee and the Tennessee Equality Project on last night’s passage of a non-discrimination ordinance that protects city employees from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. HRC is proud to have coordinated with the TEP to activate our membership on behalf of the ordinance, and congratulates TEP on their years of fine work on this successful and inclusive effort.
This law will provide valuable protections to city employees who deserve be judged on their merits as employees and not discriminated against because of who they are. Unfortunately, this law will only protect city employees because a statewide law limits the ability of municipalities to extend non-discrimination laws and prevents Memphis from prohibiting employment discrimination in the private sector (the National Center for Lesbian Rights has brought a case challenging this state law). The Memphis City Council nevertheless extended the protections it could – which are meaningful, substantive protections – and stayed committed to the bill during the various twists and turns it underwent during the legislative process.
Memphis joins Nashville and Knoxville as Tennessee cities that also offer these protections. Memphis is known for fighting for equality, and this ordinance is a remarkable addition to that weighty legacy.
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