Nassau County Executive Laura Curran recently joined Legislator Arnold Drucker, Legislator Ellen Birnbaum, Legislator Debra Mule, President and CEO of the LGBT Network Dr. David Kilmnick and LGBTQ Youth Services Manager at Pride for Youth Aiden Jay Kaplan to announce an updated and improved Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy that addresses gender identity, transgender, gender dysphoria discrimination and sexual harassment.
“The county’s outdated EEO policy did not support full diversity and tolerance,” said Curran. “We are working to eradicate all forms of discrimination in the workplace and to ensure equal employment opportunity for all members of our team. This new policy will do more to protect the civil rights of our employees than has ever been done before.”
Curran’s policy improvements include substantial enhancements in provisions relating to sexual harassment prevention. Nassau County will now have a separate complaint form for sexual harassment and prompt investigations into allegations of discrimination or harassment. The policy also protects employees who report harassment and/or discrimination from retaliation.
And for the first time in Nassau County’s history, it is explicitly stated in the EEO policy that the protected classification of “sex” protects employees against discrimination based on “gender identity, transgender persons and gender dysphoria.”
The county’s commitment to safe-guarding its employees also includes an interactive training plan to educate all employees in identifying and reporting instances of discrimination and/or sexual harassment. This interactive training plan will enhance the county’s established EEO and Anti-Harassment training.
“We need to ensure a safe and respectful workplace,” said Curran. “It’s our job to protect the civil rights of our employees. That is responsible, ethical government.”
“Earlier this year, I was proud to champion and secure passage of sweeping reforms to Nassau County’s sexual harassment policies. Today, we take another important step toward eradicating the scourge of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination,” Legislator Drucker said. “I applaud the County Executive for her commitment to safety and fairness in the workplace and am hopeful that we can parlay this momentum into enshrining protections for transgender residents into Nassau County’s human rights law.”
“Under the bold leadership of County Executive Curran, Nassau County has made many important strides towards becoming a safer, more inclusive place to live and work. This long-overdue policy change for Nassau’s transgender people and families sends a clear message that all county employees are entitled to work in an environment that is safe, and free from harassment and discrimination,” said Dr. Kilmnick.
“Nassau County has an obligation to its residents to ensure people of all gender identities have the same equal protections under the law,” said Kaplan. “This policy is the first in Nassau County’s history to explicitly protect transgender people and it is hopefully the first of many policies that will be introduced to end discrimination against this vulnerable population.”
These advancements conform to the new State Department of Labor Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy issued earlier this year.
“This new policy is now in effect and will be fully enforced,” said Curran.