The Phoenix City Council recently amended the Phoenix City Code to add the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the code section currently prohibiting discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, and certain contracts with the City of Phoenix.
Phoenix now joins at least 180 other counties, towns, and cities, including the City of Tucson, which have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals.
To date, 21 states (and the District of Columbia) have enacted laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 16 states (and the District of Columbia) have enacted laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. Currently, there is no Arizona state statute prohibiting discrimination by private employers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
In light of the amendment and the growing focus on this area of law, employers should consider amending their equal employment opportunity and anti-harassment policies to add sexual orientation and gender identity/expression as protected classes. Employers should also consider initiating training to address transgender and sexual orientation discrimination to better educate and inform employees and to help management identify potential discrimination.
For details about the new city code, click here.