Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sun Valley policy should address sexual orientation


We are deeply concerned by one aspect of the personnel policy for the city of Sun Valley adopted by the City Council on Oct. 2. The policy’s equal employment opportunity statement provides that all employment decisions “will be made without regard to race, religion, gender, age, national origin, genetic information or non-job-related disability.”   The section titled “Prohibited Workplace Conduct” provides that city employees are prohibited, inter alia, from discriminating “in the treatment of co-workers or members of the public on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, disability or national origin.”

Thus, employment decisions can be made with regard to an employee’s or a prospective employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Likewise, city employees are not prohibited from discriminating in the treatment of co-workers or members of the public on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We strongly doubt that the great majority of Sun Valley citizens would want their city government to operate in such a fashion.

We are told that the council, in a rush to adopt this new personnel policy, simply incorporated the provisions of current federal and Idaho EEO law applicable to the public and private sectors.  However, some 20 years ago, the U.S. Department of State adopted regulations prohibiting discrimination against gays, and other federal departments have done so as well, most recently and most famously the Department of Defense. Several Idaho cities, including Boise and now Ketchum, have passed ordinances outlawing discrimination against gays and transgender people in both the public and private sectors.

Sun Valley can and must do better! We urge the council to adopt immediately the required amendment to its personnel policy. 

Todd and Georgia Stewart

Sun Valley




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