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The City and County of San Francisco is the largest employer in San Francisco, with approximately 37,000 employees who reflect the vibrant and diverse populations of the region. Yet, while the City and County collects certain anonymous demographic information from applicants for City employment, little is known about applicants or the City workforce regarding LGBTQ identities. The amendment to the code will allow the Department of Human Resources to collect voluntary and anonymous sexual orientation demographics from City employees and applicants.
San Francisco is a leader in LGBTQ rights and has a rich history of LGBTQ and HIV advocacy; art and culture; and groundbreaking legislation and social programming. As a result, LGBTQ communities worldwide look to San Francisco as a model to follow – a city that understands how crucial it is for diverse communities to be seen, counted, respected, and celebrated.
"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," said Mayor Breed. "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. With this change, we'll be able to look at the data and make any changes needed in our hiring practices. I want to thank Supervisor Mandelman for partnering with us on this important legislation."
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This new policy builds off Mayor Breed's Executive Directive to assure City services are LGBTQ affirming by requiring departments to provide gender inclusive options and self-identifiers on all City forms and applications. The directive also expanded required trans inclusion training to all City employees working with the public. Also, Mayor Breed has prioritized appointing LGBTQ community leaders to City boards and commissions; since her inauguration in 2018, she has appointed or reappointed over 48 LGBTQ commissioners, making up 15% of all appointments.
"I am grateful for Mayor London Breed's leadership and partnership on this new legislation that will help San Francisco more effectively identify, measure, and address the needs of our LGBTQ City employees and applicants," said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. "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," said Carol Isen, DHR Human Resources Director. "We look forward to implementing this change and expanding additional equity efforts that support pathways to City employment for the LGBTQ community."
"This legislation is critical to support San Francisco's efforts to advance LGBTQ rights and inclusion in the workplace," said Clair Farley, Executive Director of the Office of Transgender Initiatives. "Our team is proud to have worked with City to expand critical data collection to include our LGBTQ community and employees while assuring we have inclusive policies and and training programs to assure a safe and affirming workplace – despite the challenges of the pandemic we were able to train over 2,000 City employees through our LGBTQ Inclusion Trainings."
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Additional Background on Chapter 12E
With certain narrow exceptions, Chapter 12E (City Employee's Sexual Privacy Ordinance) of the Administrative Code prohibits the City from inquiring into "sexual orientation, practices, or habits" of City employees. In practice, this prohibited collection of sexual orientation and accurate gender identity information from City employees.
When enacted in 1985, Chapter 12E was necessary to protect LGBTQ City employees and applicants from potential discrimination at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At that time, the larger population often assumed that any member of the LGBTQ community might be living with HIV/AIDS and carried a tremendous stigma attached to it. This perception has shifted over time, given that discrimination and harassment based on HIV status, sexual orientation, and gender identity have since become prohibited under federal, state, and local law, as well as City policy.
The City remains committed to upholding protections for its LGBTQ applicants and employees, and to maintaining the privacy of all its applicants and employees by collecting data about sexual orientation and gender identity on a voluntary and anonymous basis. More information on the introduced legislation can be found here.
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