AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta city workers are protected from discrimination based on their race, color, national origin, or gender, that’s the law and city policy but if a worker is gay or transgender, then not so much.
“Sexual orientation sexual preferences are not currently a protected category under title seven of the civil rights act or Augusta Georgia policy,” said Jody Smitherman Augusta Senior Staff Attorney.
But now Augusta’s personnel policies are getting a makeover by a commission subcommittee, and one of its recommendations is making sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender Identity a protected category.
Meaning there would be protections for LGBT workers in the city code.
“It’s progressive but not controversial it’s just something we need to do we think there should be equal employment everybody should have the same rights we want to protect LGBT’S,” says Commissioner Bill Lockett who chairs the subcommittee.
The subcommittee is pushing a recommendation of protection that’s currently not recognized by the state of Georgia.
“I don’t see this as a being a controversial move it’s something that needs to be done to address it,” said Commissioner Ben Hasan.
If approved it would create a whole new level of complaints for Augusta’s E-E-O Office to investigate, an allegation of discrimination based one being gay or trans-gender
“Case by case we would have to evaluate those types of issues as they are presented to us on a case by case basis
“Haven’t look at all the ramifications of it we have a few more weeks while this is under discussion and we’ll look at the ramifications at that time,” says City Administrator Janice Jackson.
Adding the protective classes to the policy is just one major revamp the subcommittee is also recommending doing away with severance pay for department directors who retire or resign for a new job, however this is just for new hires; existing directors would be grand fathered in.
The full commission should be voting on all the policy recommendations later in the fall.