Oklahoma City Council Votes to Protect Employees from Discrimination
The Oklahoma City Council voted 7-2 today to approve additional language to protect city employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Clearly undermining the claim by some that the vote was potentially controversial, the city council sent a strong message of support for equality today by passing the policy with an overwhelming majority. Oklahoma City is joining close to two hundred other cities, including Tulsa, in protecting public employees from employment discrimination.
The measure was proposed by City Councilmember Ed Shadid who explained, “We’re just saying for Oklahoma City’s 4,300 employees, we will not hire or fire you based on your sexual orientation.” In response to a Councilmember’s questioning the need for a measure based on the lack of previous discrimination complaints, Shadid explained, “Without having a policy in place, there really isn’t a mechanism for city employees to make such complaints.” He went on to say that “Not updating their employment policy has hurt Oklahoma City’s national perception.”
Scott Hamilton from the Cimarron Alliance, an LGBT equality group said, “It is a big step forward for Oklahoma City to say, ‘We value everyone.’” Speaking to the goals of the measure, Hamilton continues, “It creates equality for all city employees here in Oklahoma City.”
The policy will now read, “Any employee or applicant for municipal employment shall be afforded equal opportunity without regard to race, creed, ethnic origin, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or age.”
Watch coverage of the previously proposed coverage here:
GLAAD applauds the Oklahoma City Council for taking a stand for equality and ending workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.