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Whelchel Letter 102112

Whelchel Letter 102112

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Published by: Sergio Nahuel Candido on Oct 22, 2012
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10/22/2012

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·ThePalmBeachGauntyHUrnIJ,nRightsCouncd,Inc.
is
dedicatedtoendingdiscriminaJ:iunbasedonsexualorientation,genderidentity, andgenderexpression.TheCouncilpromotesequalitythrougheducation,advocacy,directaction,impad.luzgatzonandcommun11youtreach..
RANnHOCH
FOUNDER
&
PRESIDENT
DEIDRENEWTON
VICE
PRESIDENT
DANIELS.HALL
TREASURER
RAEFRANKS
SECRETARr
JESSICABLACKMANPETERCAVAHUTCHFLOYDJAMIET.FOREMAN
W.
TRENTSTEELE
no
Box267
WESTPALMBEACHFLORIDA
33402561.586.0203
PBCHRC@AOL.COM
www.PBCHRC.oRG
Pleasereplyto:400NorthFlaglerDrive,#1402WestPalmBeach,Florida33401(561)358-0105rand-hoch@usa.net
October21,2012 MayorSusanWhelchel CityHall201WestPalmettoParkRoadBocaRaton,Florida33432Viae-mailto:swhelchel@ci.boca-raton.fl.us Re:ResolutionNo.128-2012andRescidingCityofBocaRatonOrdinance5161DearMayorWhelchel:OnbehalfoftheBoardofDirectorsofthePalmBeachCountyHumanRightsCouncil("PBCHRC"),IamwritingtoexplainwhyOrdinance5161isamatterofcivilrights,since itappearsfromtoday'sarticleinthe
Sun-Sentinel,
thatyoudonotunderstand.UpuntilJanuary24,2011,employeesoftheCityofBocaRatonwhofelttheyhadbeen subjectedtodiscriminationbasedonrace,sex,color,religion,nationalorigin,age, disability,familialstatusormaritalstatus,hadtherighttobringthemattertotheattention oftheCounty'sOfficeofEqualOpportunity,sothatthemattercouldbeinvestigated locally,promptly,andinexpensively. ThatchangedonJanuary25,2011,whenyouandyourcolleaguesunanimouslyadopted BocaRatonOrdinance5161.Sincethen,cityemployeesseekingindependentredressifthey feelthearebeingsubjectedtodiscriminationbasedonrace,sex,color,religion,national origin,age,disability,familialstatusormaritalstatus,arelimitedtofilingaChargeof DiscriminationwiththefederalEqualEmploymentOpportunityCommissioninMiamiorwiththeFloridaCommissiononHumanRelationsinTallahassee. Clearly,thecivilrightsofthewomenandminoritiesworkingfortheCityofBocaRaton (whichhadbeeninplacesince1995weresignificantlyrestrictedbytheenactmentof Ordinance5161.Additionally,upuntilJanuary24,2011,gay,lesbianandgendernonconformingemployees oftheCityofBocaRatonhadlegalrecourseiftheyfelttheCityhaddiscriminatedagainst basedontheirsexualorientation,genderidentityorgenderexpression.TheCity'slesbian andgayemployees'civilrightshadbeeninplacesince2002,whentheCountyamendedits1995EqualEmploymentOrdinancetoinclude"sexualorientation".TheCity'sgender nonconformingemployees'civilrightshadbeeninplacesince2007,whentheCounty's EqualEmploymentOrdinancewasamendedtoinclude"genderidentityorexpression".
 
MayorSusanWhelchelOctober21,2012:.Pagetwo-So,whenyouandDeputyMayorSusanHayniebroughtupOrdinance5161forconsiderationonJanuary25,2011,andwhentheCouncilunanimouslyenactedit,theCity,infact,tookawaysomeofthecivilrightswomenandminoritiesworkingfortheCityofBocaRaton,andallofthecivilrightsoftheCity'sgay,lesbian andgendernonconformingemployees.Overthepastseveralweeks,PBCHRChasfiledfourpublicrecordsrequestsinanattempttoascertainhowyouandyourcolleaguesbecametheonlyelectedofficialsinFloridaduringthiscentury(andnodoubtlonger)tovotetoeliminateanyone'scivilrights.Asyouknow,sincetheCityhasrefusedtocomplywith theFloridaPublicRecordsAct,PBCHRChasretainedlegalcounseltoinstitutealawsuitiftherecordsarenotpromptlyforthcoming.
Unlesscorrectiveactionistaken,PBCHRCwillgettothebottomofthis.
Untilthen,wearerelyingonrecordswhichwecanobtainviatheinternet.IhavereviewedthesomewhatmisleadingJanuary4,2011memorandumonEqualEmploymentOpportunitypreparedbyCityManagerLeifAhnellandHumanResourcesDirectorMarkBuckingham,whichwasincludedinthebackupfortheJanuary25,2011CityCouncilMeetingatwhichOrdinance5161wasenacted.Thememorandummakesnoreferenceto"sexualorientation""genderidentity"or"genderexpression".Nordoesitinformanyonethatthecivilrightsoffemaleandminorityemployeeswouldbecurtailed.Therefore,itis
possible
thatneitheryounoryourcolleagueshadanyideathatbyenactingtheordinance,youwerecompletelyeliminatingthecivilrightsoftheCity'sgay,lesbianandgendernon-conformingemployees,aswellasrestrictingtherightsoftheCity'sfemaleandminorityemployees.GivingtheCityCouncilthebenefitofthedoubt,ifyouandyourcolleagueshadbeenledtobelievethatenactingOrdinance5161wasmerelyahomeruleissue,younowknowthatitisactuallyacivilrightsissue.TheBoardofDirectorsofthePalmBeachCountyHumanRightsCouncilcontinuestourgetheCityCounciltopromptlyrescindCityofBocaRatonOrdinance5161sothat
all
oftheCity'semployeeswillbeaffordedtherightsprovidedtotheothermenandwomenworkinginbothprivateandpublicemploymentinPalmBeachCounty.Onanothermatter,inanarticleentitled"BocaRatonofficialscompareLGBTequalitytocaninerights
&
badhair"publishedinthe
SouthFloridaGayNews,
BocaRatonAssistantCityManagerMikeWoikaisquotedassaying,""What'stokeepothergroupsfromwantingtobeprotected?Howabout me?I'mapetlover.Ithinkshouldbeincludedinyouranti-discriminationlaw.Someonewhohasdogs shouldnotbediscriminatedagainsteither."Puttingitsimply,Mr.Woika'scommentsarenotonlyignorant,butalsohurtful.Thereisnolongstanding historyofemploymentdiscriminationagainstpetowners.
In
contrast,thehistoryofemploymentdiscriminationagainstlesbians,gaysandgendernonconformingindividualsisextensive.
In
anattempttoaddressthisworkplaceissue,thousandsofbusinesses(including87percentofFortune500companies)haveenactedpoliciesprohibitingdiscriminationbasedonsexualorientation.Morethanathird(46percent)ofFortune500companiesalsoprohibitdiscriminationbasedongenderidentity/expression.Additionallyamajority(58percent)providedomesticpartnerhealthinsurancebenefitstotheiremployees.
In
today'sarticleinthe
Sun-Sentinel
entitled"Homeruleorbigotry?Bocaoptsoutofexpandedanti-discriminationpolicy",Mr.Woikatoneddownhislanguagesomewhat.However,hecontinuedto marginalizeLGBTpeopleandthediscriminationweface.

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