Tempe, AZ Prohibits Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

The City of Tempe has passed an ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation based on race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability, and U.S. military veteran status. The ordinance also contains a non-retaliation provision. Currently, neither Arizona state law nor federal law specifically prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity. With this ordinance, Tempe becomes the fourth city in Arizona to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. 

The ordinance defines “employer” as a person doing business in Tempe that has one or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding year, and any agent of such person. It prohibits employers from refusing to hire, barring, discharging, or discriminating based on the listed protected statuses in compensation, conditions, or privileges of employment.

City vendors and contractors are also required to comply with the ordinance, and must provide copies of their anti-discrimination policies to the city’s procurement officer.

The ordinance exempts religious organizations, bona fide membership clubs, and expressive organizations. The City stated in a press release that the ordinance does not apply to Tempe school districts.

Complaints for violations of the ordinance must be filed with the City Manager within 45 days of the occurrence. Violations can result in a civil fine of $1500 to $2500. The ordinance is effective March 29, 2014. Covered employers should update their anti-discrimination policies to comply with the new ordinance by then.