Mecklenburg County (North Carolina, USA) commissioners tonight voted 6-3 to add protections for transgender workers to the county’s non-discrimination policy. The 6-3 vote brings county policies in line with Charlotte’s and federal government regulations.
Debate on the policy revision followed hours of debate on other controversial topics, including the county’s mental health system, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
Scott Bishop, chair of the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC), said the revision was necessary for the county to continue to compete for good employees.
In the past five years, he said, the number of corporations including employee protections for transgender workers has more than doubled.
“Corporate America recognizes that talent comes in all forms,” he said. “Many municipalities are also following suit and realizing they need to compete for this talent pool. Providing these protections at the local level is an important step in ensuring transgender Americans are provided the same opportunities as other candidates in hiring.”
Ratliff and other supporters also said the policy revision was meant to bring the county’s policies in line with federal regulations. In 2012, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that discriminating against a person on the basis of their gender identity constituted illegal sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The vote also brings Mecklenburg County’s human resources policies in line with those in the City of Charlotte. In 2010, former Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton added sexual orientation to his human resources policy. In 2012, he also added protections for transgender workers.
Mecklenburg becomes the third county in Virginia, following Orange and Buncombe, to protect transgender workers.