City of Cleveland adds gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws

On Monday, the City of Cleveland passed an ordinance protecting gender identity (e.g., transgendered individuals, or individuals who identify with a gender other than the one they were born as) from discrimination in employment and housing.  Sexual orientation is already a protected category under the City’s anti-discrimination laws.  The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the law, further cementing its growing image as one of tolerance.  (For example, the City has been awarded the opportunity to host the 2014 Gay Games, an international competition).

So what does this mean to employers in the City of Cleveland?  They should immediately update their EEO and anti-discrimination policies and handbook, as well as recruiting and hiring forms that contain any references to anti-discrimination policies.  For those outside the city borders, now is a good time to think about following suit on a voluntary basis.  Many expect that it won’t be long before gender identity and sexual orientation are federally protected categories too.  See Warren & Hays blog 10.1.09.