Equality Arizona

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Updates Non-Discrimination Policy to Include Sexual Orientation

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors updated their employment non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. Despite urging from Equality Arizona and our allied organizations, they did not include gender identity and expression in this update.

Gender identity and expression are essential to these protections. A staggering 97 percent of respondents to a 2010 national survey reported some form of employment-related harassment or discrimination due to their gender identity or expression. Consequently,  transgender people are twice as likely to be unemployed than the general population (transgender people of color, four times more likely).

Gender identity inclusive language, in fact, protects all employees regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Even heterosexual workers who may not conform to traditional gender norms will be protected from unwarranted workplace harassment and discrimination.

All hard-working people deserve the right to earn a living and provide for their families. It is incumbent upon us to stand in solidarity with those most harmed by the lack of basic workplace protections. Any update that is not fully inclusive only further highlights that we have a patchwork of protections that leaves behind a community that is disproportionately targeted and discriminated against.

The Board of Supervisors committed to looking at including gender identity and expression in a subsequent update. We understand the urgency, and we will continue to work with them to make this a reality as soon as possible. We will keep you updated on this developing story. Please be sure to sign up for our email updates to be kept up to date.