Asheville city council approves non-discrimination ordinance

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ASHEVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Asheville City Council members approved a new ordinance that aims to combat many types of discrimination.

This change comes after a restriction in North Carolina HB-142— one that prohibited local governments from regulating private employment practices and/or public accommodations — expired in December 2020.

Local governments across the state of North Carolina are now rushing to pass their own non-discrimination laws, a move activists and city leaders have been anticipating for years now.

“This is something that we’ve seen a need for over the years and that we’ve discussed as a community. We’ve also seen the push back as a community, so to get to this point now, is personally very meaningful for me as a transgender woman, for our organization and our community,” Allison Scott, director of Impact & Innovation Campaign for Southern Equality said.

The ordinance will prohibit discrimination in private employment and in public accommodations based upon any of the following: race, natural hair or hairstyles, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and many other categories.

According to City Attorney Brad Branham, penalties for violating the ordinance will rely heavily on educating violators and voluntary compliance. If discrimination continues depending upon the situation the city may evoke civil penalties.

Starting July 1, complaints of discrimination can be filed with the Office of Equity and Inclusion in Asheville.

To read more about the ordinance, click here.

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