Supes approve ordinance calling for data on city workers’ sexual orientation

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved reversing an ordinance that prohibits The City’s Department of Human Resources...

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved reversing an ordinance that prohibits The City’s Department of Human Resources from collecting data about employees’ sexual orientation.

In 1985, The City enacted an administrative code under the City Employee’s Sexual Privacy Ordinance, prohibiting such information gathering as a way to curb discrimination against LGBTQ people at the height of the HIV-AIDS epidemic.

In June, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and Mayor London Breed jointly introduced an ordinance to amend the code so The City can begin collecting voluntary data with the intention of ensuring visibility and representation for the LGBTQ community among The City’s workforce, which is about 37,000 employees strong.

“Since day one, I have made it a point of my administration to elevate and support LGBTQ leadership and representation,” Breed said in a statement. “This section of the administrative code was necessary to protect LGBTQ employees from discrimination and harassment when initially designed, but it has now outlived its purpose. With the board’s approval, we are advancing our workplace measures to ensure that San Francisco is an inclusive city for all LGBTQ workers.”

“LGBTQ city employees drive our buses, fight our fires and clean our streets,” Mandelman said. “This legislation will help us to identify and address the needs of these employees and ensure that we are supporting and expanding San Francisco’s LGBTQ workforce.”

In a city known for its vibrant LGBTQ community, LGBTQ city employees already are protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity through various federal, state and local laws, city official said.

“This important policy change will give the city invaluable data on our LGBTQ+ workforce, and help identify potential barriers to city employment and advancement,” Department of Human Resources 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.”

Since taking office in 2018, Breed has appointed 48 commissioners to city boards who identify as LGBTQ, representing 15% of all appointments she’s made thus far.

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