[Vision2020] Latah County may expand protections to include gender identity, orientation

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Jun 17 04:03:50 PDT 2015

Courtesy of today's (June 17, 2015) Lewiston Tribune.

Latah County may expand protections to include gender identity, orientation
Latah County is in the process of officially adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in the nondiscrimination portion of its personnel policy.
Discussion about the additions to the nondiscrimination policy first began about a month ago, along with modifications to three other areas of the county's personnel policy handbook, Commissioner Tom Lamar said. County employees are also working on language for a new volunteer policy, updating the Family Medical Leave Act and adjusting the mileage reimbursement rate to align with the state's rate.
Lamar first noticed gender identity and sexual orientation were not listed in the nondiscrimination portion of the employee policy when he was asked to review it after being sworn in as the District 2 commissioner in January. He said it's evident county officials have already been in the practice of not discriminating against potential employees, but it is good to put that practice into policy.
"This is just one thing that jumped out at me," Lamar said.
Lamar said his fellow commissioners, Dave McGraw and Richard Walser, agreed adding nondiscrimination language would be a good addition to the county's policy when they began reviewing the handbook earlier this spring. The commissioners presented the proposed personnel policy handbook update to the county's other elected officials and department heads during a monthly meeting Monday.
"I feel like this particular issue is long overdue," Lamar said.
Language prohibiting discrimination in housing and employment because of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity has not been added to Idaho Code, but some cities and counties around the state - including Moscow and Lewiston - have updated their personnel policies or added similar protections at the local level.
It's an extension in protection that Lamar said he thinks should be made statewide and nationally. He said it's important to ensure people are not discriminated against for qualities beyond their control and for being themselves. He said it's nice to be in the process of getting it taken care of for Latah County.
"Latah County can't wait around for the others," he said. "We have to do what's right for Latah County, and we (the commissioners) are."
A date for review and consideration of the proposed updates by the commissioners has not yet been set.

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares"
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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