County’s Non-Discrimination Policy Expanded

Washtenaw County commissioners gave final approval to reaffirm and update the county’s affirmative action plan, as well as other nondiscrimination in employment-related policies. [.pdf of staff memo and policies] The primary change adds a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

The action took place during the county board’s Sept. 18, 2013 meeting. The vote was 6-0, with three commissioners absent: Felicia Brabec (D-District 4), Rolland Sizemore Jr. (D-District 5) and Ronnie Peterson (D-District 6).

During public commentary on Sept. 4 – when an initial vote was taken – community activist Jim Toy and Jason Morgan, a board member of the Jim Toy Community Center, had spoken in support of the changes. No one from the public addressed the issue during the Sept. 18 meeting.

The resolution’s three resolved clauses state:

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners reaffirms its intent to prohibit discrimination in Washtenaw County against any person in recruitment, certification, appointment, retention, promotion, training and discipline on the basis of race, creed, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, handicap, veteran status, marital status, height, weight, religion and political belief.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners shall strive to promote a workforce that welcomes and honors all persons and that provides equal opportunity in employment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners directs the Human Resources / Labor Relations Director to update the Affirmative Action Plan, as well as policies Prohibiting Discrimination in Employment, Sexual Harassment, and the County’s Statement of Equal Employment Opportunity to reflect the Boards commitment and reaffirmation described herein.

Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8) made a minor amendment, which was accepted as friendly, to add in the word “sex” in the list of categories that cannot be discriminated against. He said it had been inadvertently edited out in the initial resolution.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building, located at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]