By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
The city of Grove City is continuing its efforts to become a more inclusive community.
At the April 4 meeting, council unanimously voted to enhance the city’s discrimination and harassment policy for its employees.
According to the legislation, there is currently no federal or state law that provides protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. City leaders decided to amend its current policy to include protection for those individuals.
Under the previous policy, the city prohibited any form of unlawful discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, military status, status as a veteran or special disabled veteran, and ancestry. Under the new policy, the city prohibits any form of discrimination, or harassment based on all the factors listed previously as well as familial status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
“I felt there was value in formalizing the city’s commitment to embracing and protecting diversity in our workforce because several of the characteristics listed are not expressly stated in federal or state discrimination laws,” said councilwoman Christine Houk. “As a Grove City employer, it is important for the city to lead by example.”
Grove City resident Mike Miller spoke in favor of the policy amendment and said it was an important step for the city.
“We need to come together as a nation and make sure everyone is treated equally,” he said.
This legislation comes shortly after city council voted to form the Grove City Community Diversity Advisory Task Force.
This will be a 12-member task force. Six of those members will be selected applicants, one will be appointed by the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce, one appointed from the Heart of Grove City, and one chosen by Visit Grove City. In addition, the Grove City Parks and Recreation Department will select one senior member and two youth members. The task force will also include one ex officio member, which will be councilwoman Houk, the originator of the legislation.
The task force will explore opportunities to drive community conversations related to understanding different viewpoints and experiences; evaluate city policies, procedures, and practices relative to the city’s support of commitment to diversity and inclusion; suggest educational and informational programming; and address long-term community goals.
The Grove City Community Diversity Advisory Task Force would give a presentation to council after one year. It will also provide council with an update on its progress semiannually.
For more information on the task force, visit grovecityohio.gov.