Memphis City Council Approves LGBT Amendment to Discrimination Ordinance

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(Memphis) With a 7-5 vote, the Memphis City Council approves adding sexual orientation to the items for which you cannot be discriminated against as a city employee.

The Council however will wait 30 days before giving a final approval in order to get information about whether the action affects the city charter.

Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris said there is a problem with discrimination across the country, and within the city government. 

He believes there is no local protection to keep people from being discriminated against in the work place, “We’ve got folks living day to day and hoping folks don’t come in and arbitrarily take action against them and it can happen."

Harris says it can happen because the city does not have an ordinance in place that protects city workers from discrimination based on age, race, gender or sexual orientation. 

So, he wrote an ordinance hoping it will protect city employee rights.

“These are basic work place protections that say the City of Memphis can’t hire fire or pass someone up for promotion based on those characteristics,” said Harris.

Other council members like Kemp Conrad say Memphis has already taken a stand for workers rights, and the new ordinance will only repeat standing rules.

“We changed the ordinance in 2010 so only merit based factors could be considered in hiring or promotions. So really, what we have is a tempest in a tea-pot and a manufactured crisis that simply doesn’t exist,” said Conrad.

Conrad also says the city of Memphis does not discriminate against any worker for any reason.