Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ohio Democratic Governor signs non-discrimination order

Ohio Democratic Governor Ted Strickland today signed an executive order banning discrimination of current or prospective state employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity:

Executive Order 2007 – 10S
Establishing Policy Against Discrimination
Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

1. The State of Ohio Should Treat Employees Respectfully. Persons employed by the State of Ohio are a vital part of creating and fostering efficient governmental practices and ensuring that all citizens of Ohio receive the support and services that they need and to which they are entitled. Because of the contributions that State employees make, their colleagues and supervisors should treat them with respect and dignity.

2. The State of Ohio Should Seek to Attract Top Quality Employees. The government must compete for the best employees it can obtain. Discriminatory conduct in hiring and other employment related decisions undermines the State’s ability to attract and retain the best possible employees.

3. State and Federal Law Already Prohibit a Range of Discriminatory Practices. Ohio law, consistent with federal law, prohibits employers, including the State, from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, national original, veteran status, disability, age, or sex. However, there are no such laws that prohibit employers from discriminating in employment related decisions on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

4. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination is Currently Occurring in State Government. Information compiled by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission documents ongoing and past discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in employment-related decisions by personnel at Ohio agencies, boards and commissions. Such discriminatory conduct undermines the effectiveness of employees discriminated against, prevents the State from attracting the best available talent to work on behalf of the people of Ohio, and offends basic notions of human dignity.

5. Applicable Definitions. The following definitions apply to the requirements of this Order:

a. Sexual Orientation: A person’s actual or perceived homosexuality; bisexuality; or heterosexuality, by orientation or practice, by and between adults who have the ability to give consent.

b. Gender Identity: The gender a person associates with him or herself, regardless of the gender others might attribute to that person.

6. Prohibition Against Discrimination. For the reasons stated above, I am declaring it to be the policy of the State of Ohio that no person employed by a Cabinet agency or by a State of Ohio Board or Commission may discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in making any of the following employment related decisions:

a. Hiring

b. Layoff

c. Termination

d. Transfer

e. Promotion

f. Demotion

g. Rate of Compensation

h. Eligibility for In-Service Training Programs

7. Management of Discrimination Complaints. Any person who believes that an agency, board, or commission employee has discriminated against him or her in violation of this Order may file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Opportunity Division/Equal Employment Opportunity Section of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. All such complaints will be investigated and resolved within the timeframe allowed for claims of discrimination that are recognized by Ohio law. Persons engaging in discrimination in violation of this order will be subject to discipline commensurate with the sanctions that would be applied to illegal discriminatory conduct.

8. I signed this Executive Order on May 17, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio and it will expire on my last day as Governor of Ohio unless rescinded before then.

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