Nashville Chamber, Human Relations Commission agree: more metro employee data is needed

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diverse employees graphic w chamber commission logos.jpg

Two local organizations have banded together to present a policy recommendation that would bring greater visibility to LGBT employees of Metro Nashville Government.

This week the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the city's Metro Human Relations Commission submitted a joint policy paper, Employee Self-Identification: Increasing Workplace Inclusion in Metro, that recommends the city of Nashville collect information from city employees as it regards their sexual orientation.

Last year the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equity Index revealed Nashville earned a score of 66 out of 100. The policy paper notes it is higher than any other Tennessee city—Chattanooga's score was 35, and Memphis' was 56—but lower than Atlanta's perfect 100 score.

The reason behind the recommendation (from the paper):

Employers typically capture an employee’s race, ethnicity, gender and sometimes military and disability status to quantitatively evaluate recruitment and retention across the entire organization and within individual business units. It makes good sense to innovate Employee Self-Identification 2 existing data collection methods (or add new ones) to also track and gain a more complete picture of LGBT employees to significantly enhance efforts of diversity/inclusion initiatives.

Specifically, the policy paper recommends that Metro: 

Take the necessary action to allow employees to self-identify by sexual orientation and gender identity through an employee satisfaction survey conducted by a non-partial third party. This survey should measure subjective employee experiences and also allow employees to self-identify according to other important socio-demographic markers such as disability status, veteran status, and religious affiliations. 

The report cites a 2012 study from the Center for American Progress that notes both that public-sector LGBT employees are less likely to report discrimination in the workplace and that gay and transgender public employees are paid less than their peers for equal work. The new policy paper concludes with acknowledgment that local government will be able to enact more effective inclusionary policies when it knows more about the LGBT people it employs.

In a Facebook post, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce added: "If we are not self-identifying, then the public is going to continue thinking that 3.5% of the Nashville population identifies as LGBT."