SLCO Bans Discrimination against Trans Gov’t Employees

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Just six months after passing ordinances prohibiting job and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Salt Lake County Council has banned anti-transgender discrimination in its internal hiring policy.

On June 29, Deputy District Attorney, Kelly Wright, submitted an ordinance which added gender identity to the county government’s nondiscrimination employment code, which also prohibits hiring discriminatorily based on age, marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and sexual orientation. The ordinance passed unanimously (though Councilmen Randy Horiuchi and Michael Jensen were absent) and has now taken effect.

Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah, the gay and transgender rights group that has promoted similar nondiscrimination ordinances, said that the residents brought the code to the attention of Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, wanting to know if the lack of protections for transgender people “was an oversight.” Wilson, a leading advocate of the county-wide gay and transgender-inclusive ordinances, then saw that the item was placed on the council’s agenda.

“[The council] wanted to make sure the two things were mirrored,” said Balken. “It was wonderful that it passed unanimously, and wonderful to see Jenny Wilson stand as a great leader for equality for Salt Lake County residents.”

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