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Defining workplace discrimination

Submitted by on 03.25.2013 – 10:04 pm

The Moscow City Council will consider an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in employment and housing on April 1.
Tina Trana, a volunteer for the Human Rights Commission, said they have been working on the proposal for about six years.
“We have to protect those that can’t protect themselves,” she said.
Trana said she knows people who have been kicked out of their apartment or fired from jobs because they were gay or transgender. Because there is no law in Idaho that specifically protects against discrimination of gender identity and sexual orientation, there is no legal standing in court.
If adopted, the ordinance would give people who are discriminated against a legal standing in situations like this.
“People will find a loophole in laws
if they are not written word by word,” she said.
Currently, laws enforced under the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission protect against discrimination based on race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disabilities and genetic information.
Even though Trana knows people who have been discriminated never personally had an experience like that.
Sophia Chernishoff, a University of Idaho student, said she thinks the ordinance is awesome, but didn’t know Moscow had a problem with that type of discrimination.
“I don’t understand why people need that law though,” she said. “It should be common sense. It is basic human rights.”
Trana said people should be accepting, even if they cannot understand why someone is gay.
Trana said she feels the ordinance is important because Moscow is considered the most inclusive city in Idaho, and she said that if Moscow is called the most inclusive city then it really should be inclusive.
Chernishoff said this ordinance will increase discrimination awareness and open more people up to the differences in one another.
She said most people are aware of discrimination on a small level, but often people still are not aware of it as a bigger problem — that there is still a large amount of discrimination in the world.
“It is important for everyone to be accepted,” Trana said.
Although the Women’s Center and LGBT office are unable to comment on active legislature, the mission of the Women’s Center is to promote and advocate for gender equity.
“My general comment would be that anything that removes barriers to individual participation and opportunities for success is a good thing,” said Heather Shea Gasser, director of the Women’s Center.
The ordinance will be considered at 6 p.m. April 1 at the city council meeting in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Reporting contributed by Kaitlyn Krasselt.
Allison Griffith can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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