News

Columbia City Add Gender Identity Protections

March 14, 2011

  SOUTH CAROLINA EQUALITY APPLAUDS MAYOR BENJAMIN AND COUMBIA CITY FOR ADDING GENDER IDENTITY PROTECTIONS TO CITY PERSONNEL POLICY
 
Columbia, SC   March 15, 2011- South Carolina Equality is the state’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) education and political advocacy organization that works to create a South Carolina where everyone is equal. 
 
South Carolina Equality enthusiastically applauds Columbia City and Mayor Steve Benjamin for expanding the City of Columbia personnel policy to include gender identity.  Columbia and Mayor Benjamin have made a clear and irrefutable statement about treating employees with respect and dignity.  This non-discrimination policy ensures that employee hiring, job performance and termination will be evaluated solely on an employee’s qualification, work quality and work ethic and not on any characteristic or expression of individual authenticity as it pertains to sexual orientation and gender identity.
 
SC Equality Executive Director, Christine Johnson stated, “Expanding the enumeration by which Columbia City will never discriminate speaks volumes about Mayor Benjamin’s leadership.  He consistently exhibits awareness and sensitivity to the Capitol City’s diverse residents which in turn makes Columbia a great place to live and work”.
 
In 2010, South Carolina Equality conducted a statewide survey of members of the LGBT community.  The survey had over 1,000 respondents from 44 of 46 counties.   SC Equality discovered that nearly 30% of respondents experienced some form of employment discrimination.  Among those who stated they were not hired, missed a promotion or fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, 78% reported it no one.  Of those who did reported it to a person or agency, only 13% reported it to the human resource department and only 3.5% reported it to the SC Human Affairs Commission.
 
According to Johnson, “Employment discrimination is a very real threat to members of the LGBT community.  We hope other employers will follow the example of Columbia City and set forth policies that treat employees with dignity and respect”.