Most organizations have some level of written non-discrimination policy to protect minority populations. These policies typically include race, creed, gender (meaning male or female), age, and disability. It is becoming more common for these policies to also include sexual orientation and for some organizations gender identity and gender expression.
The Ideal Policy:
The ideal policy looks something like the following:
The following is the text of [Organization Name]’s position on discrimination. This policy applies to all [Organization Name] employees, volunteers, members, clients, (if applicable: students) and contractors. This policy was adopted by the Board of Directors on [X date] and last amended [X date].
[Organization Name] follows an equal opportunity employment policy and employs personnel without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status.
This policy also applies to internal promotions, training, education opportunities, opportunities for advancement, terminations, outside vendors, members and customers, service clients, use of contractors and consultants, access to and participation in programs, services, and activities, and dealings with the general public.
In case of questions concerning this policy, or in the event of a desire to file a complaint alleging violations of the above, please contact:
[name (or position such as compliance coordinator)]
A traditional policy without Gender Identity and Gender Expression looks like the following, the current policy of Marlboro College (4/08):
It is the policy of Marlboro College not to discriminate in its admissions program, student services or hiring practices on the basis of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnic origin, age or disability. Inquiries regarding discrimination should be made to the Compliance Coordinator, Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont 05344, 802-257-4333.
As of October 2006 all of the eight colleges and universities that comprise the Ivy League have elected to include gender identity and expression in their non-discrimination policies.
Williams College policy reads:
Williams is guided by the principle that in no part of the campus community will there be differences in the treatment of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual.
Williams does not tolerate discrimination in any form. Actions of bias, discrimination or harassment are contrary to the mission stated in President Schapiro’s induction address — “to educate our students in an environment that reflects the great strength of our diverse society and to keep the precious prize of a Williams education open to the most talented students in the nation regardless of background.” Williams is steadfast in its pursuit to promote respect and appreciation for diversity, human rights, and differences of opinions and lifestyles throughout the entire campus community. The college is determined to maintain clear and open lines of communication and to ensure a positive learning and living environment.
Many companies feel that they do not need to be explicit about inclusion. (they are wrong)
One example company is Verizon. A great proposal was presented to the board of directors and the board voted against inclusion.
Read more here: Verizion Shareholder proposal and Board Recommendation 2008
Things to Remember:
- Keep nondiscrimination statements broad by not listing specific numbered state or federal ordinances or laws as these may change.
- Make sure the policy will be enforceable on a national level, even if you are currently only a local or statewide organization with limited scope.
- Add contact information at the end so people know that there is a face at the other end of the policy
- It can be helpful to put the date that the board approved the policy, if applicable