Protecting LGBTQ persons in employee handbook update

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(Posted July 22, 2020)

Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer

West Jefferson village council proposed adding language protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons from discrimination to their employee handbook at their regularly scheduled meeting on July 20.

If passed, the added language would forbid discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons in hiring, discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons in pay, harassment of LGBTQ+ persons in the workplace and discrimination against LGBTQ+ village residents in services provided by the village.

The protections would be added to existing language that prevents discrimination against persons based on race, religion, sex, nation of origin, age, military status, veteran status, or disability.

The village proposed adding LGBTQ+ specific anti-discrimination language after the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination based on sex, also applies to LGBTQ+ identified individuals.

The village must pass the proposed anti-discrimination language to comply with federal law, said Mayor Ray Martin.

“We’ve always been this way (anti-discriminatory),” Martin said. “We’re just putting it in writing now.”

In other action, council voted to move forward with annexation of 5.57 acres of land from Jefferson Township into the village. The land is located at 9450 W. Main St., off of U.S. Route 40.

The property is owned by a construction company that intends to build their headquarters and house equipment on the property. Council voted in favor of supplying water and sewer services to the property under normal service rates.

The Madison County commissioners must approve the annexation before it becomes official.

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