OUT IN AMERICA
June 30, 2010
(Wellington, Florida) The Village of Wellington (pop. 55,584) has amended its Equal Employment Opportunity policy to prohibit discrimination based on both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" in Village employment. The policy covers the Village's 258 employees.
The action was taken following a request from the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local non-profit organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
"People should not be fired, harassed, or denied promotion simply because they are gay or lesbian, or because they don't fit the stereotypes for masculinity or femininity," said Council President Rand Hoch.
Last spring, Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington played host to the world's first international gay polo league tournament, which was presented by the Gay Polo League.
"The Gay Polo League's selection of Wellington encouraged the Council to ask the Village to adopt a more inclusive Equal Employment Opportunity policy and to provide family benefits to employees with domestic partners," said Hoch. "Wellington's equestrian community came out in support of the tournament - and in support of our requests."
As a result, Wellington's revised Equal Employment Opportunity Policy now provides, "Wellington's employment practices are without regard to race, color, creed. religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, age, marital status, familial status, veteran's status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local law in all personnel and employment actions and in all terms and conditions of employment."
"The workplace is an ever changing environment and it our goal to do the right thing by all of the people who work for Wellington," said Village Manager Paul Schofield. "These changes are a simple recognition that the only thing that should matter in the work place is how well you do your job."
Wellington is also considering offering health insurance coverage and other family benefits to Village employees with domestic partners, according Schofield.
"In Florida, no place is more welcoming to gay employees than Palm Beach County. More than sixty percent of Palm Beach County's cities, towns and villages now have gay- inclusive nondiscrimination policies," said Hoch. "In addition, two openly gay men and one lesbian currently serve as mayors of Palm Beach County municipalities, and the city manager of another city is transsexual."