Non-discrimination ordinance fails in Memphis


The proposed employment non-discrimination ordinance (ENDO) protecting GLBT city workers failed on its second reading at the Memphis City Council meeting on November 23.

The ENDO fell one vote short of the seven needed due to the withdrawal of support from Chairman Harold Collins, who had originally supported the measure.

The ENDO appeared as the only item in the Council’s Consent Agenda for second reading. It cannot return to the council’s agenda for six months after yesterday’s dismissal.

In a press release, Tennessee Equality Project chair Jonathan Cole noted that just hours before the ENDO vote, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research ranked Memphis last among the state’s 50 largest communities in a list of business-friendly cities.


"Our City Government has made it official: inequality in the workplace is acceptable and legal," he said. "This message will resonate outside City Hall. The decision will affect employee recruitment and retention in City Hall and private businesses in Memphis."


Despite yesterday’s vote, the city’s Department of Human Resources will complete a study of discrimination in employment to include mistreatment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.


This was the second attempt by supporters to create inclusive workplace protections for City of Memphis employees. In August, TEP had withdrawn their original request of the ordinance due to poor response from the City Council.