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Winston-Salem adopts employee protection
Gay and lesbian city employees protected from job discrimination

Compiled by Q-Notes staff

The city of Winston-Salem now protects its gay and lesbian employees from discrimination.
WINSTON-SALEM — At its June 18 meeting, the Winston-Salem City Council unanimously approved amendments to City Personnel Policies adding the term sexual orientation to the city’s non-discrimination employment policy.

The City of Winston-Salem joins Orange, Durham, Guilford and Mecklenburg County, as well as the municipalities of Bessemer City, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh in a growing list of county, city and town governments protecting employees on the basis of sexual orientation.

Members of Activate/North Carolina Advocacy Coalition (NCAC) are praising the decision by the Winston-Salem City Council to protect city employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“We think it is of absolute importance that all citizens are treated equally and fairly in employment,” states Matt Comer, executive director of Activate/NCAC, who first spoke to City Councilman Dan Besse about possible policy changes in 2006.

“We know for a fact that gay and lesbian employees face above average discrimination in employment and they are not protected by any state statute,” says Comer.

According to a new study released in June by the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles, 15-43 percent of lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals surveyed since 1992 report being discriminated against in employment. Transgender individuals reported discrimination at a rate of 20-57 percent.

Activate/NCAC is calling on the City of Winston-Salem to also protect employees on the basis of gender-identity or expression.

Transgender citizens face even more difficulties in employment and are not protected in the majority of those local governments that have taken steps to stop discrimination. Only Carrboro and Chapel Hill have policies inclusive of gender identity or expression.

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