Wake Schools considers expanded job protections for gay employees

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Wake County Schools is considering expanded job protections for gay employees

Wake County Schools could ban job discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation when it comes to hiring.

The proposal would also include protections based on a person's genetic information or military affiliation.


The proposal comes as the state's largest school district updates hundreds of its policies to comply with state and federal laws.

LGBT activists argue it misses the mark, leaving transgender employees out of the equation entirely.

"People should be judged based on the work that they do, not qualities that aren't relevant," said Shawn Long, Dir. of Operations for Equality NC. "Trans folks are already a marginalized community within a marginalized community, and the trans employees should always represent, particularly in the schools, the student body. And there are tons of trans students."

More than 400 policies at WCPSS are currently being revamped.

School leaders say revisions to the employment code will align the district with the policies of the North Carolina School Boards Association which do not include gender identity.

The deadline for the changes is March 1.

"The initial impetus for bringing that policy forward was legislative changes around nepotism, so our policy needed to be updated, and we used the School Boards Association's guidance to update ours," said WCPSS Asst. Superintendent for Human Resources Doug Thilman.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners approved similar changes to its employment policy last year but included gender identity.

WCPSS already bans bullying and harassment of employees and students based on gender identity.

Under the latest proposal, when it comes to hiring, protections for transgender people would be absent.

School board members will vote on the proposal next month.

"I think they're still in the process of wrestling with it, the changes and making sure it's appropriate going forward," said Thilman.

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