San Francisco may track sexual orientation statistics for city employees. (Mira Laing/The Examiner, 2017)

San Francisco may track sexual orientation statistics for city employees. (Mira Laing/The Examiner, 2017)

Proposed ordinance calls for data collection on city employees’ sexual orientation to ensure LGBTQ hiring

San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and Mayor London Breed introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow the city to start collecting voluntary and anonymous information on city employees’ sexual orientation.

According to the city leaders, the ordinance will direct the city’s Human Resources Department to begin collecting the data, helping ensure visibility and representation for the LGBTQ community among the city’s workforce, which is 37,000 employees strong.

“As we celebrate Pride month in San Francisco, it’s important that we step back and ensure that we’re doing everything we can to live up to our values, and that includes hiring and retaining a diverse workforce that reflects our community,” Breed said in a statement.

In order for the data collection to be possible, the ordinance calls for the repeal of the city’s Administrative Code 12E, which prohibits the city from inquiring into employees’ sexual orientation, habits and practices. The code was enacted in 1985, as a deterrent against discrimination of city employees and applicants at the height of the HIV-AIDS epidemic.

“This section of our administrative code was originally designed in a different era to protect LGBTQ employees from discrimination and harassment, but it has now outlived its purpose,” Breed said. “With this change, we’ll be able to look at the data and make any changes needed in our hiring practices.”

According to Mandelman, who is the board’s only current LGBTQ member, the ordinance “will help San Francisco more effectively identify, measure, and address the needs of our LGBTQ city employees and applicants.”

He added, “Furthermore, the legislation will allow for the Department of Human Resources to better track our citywide equity goals, address gaps, and identify strategies to recruit LGBTQ employees interested in public service.”

“This important policy change will give the city invaluable data on our LGBTQ workforce and help identify potential barriers to city employment and advancement,” Human Resources Director Carol Isen said. “We look forward to implementing this change and expanding additional equity efforts that support pathways to city employment for the LGBTQ community.”

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