As reported in the Nashville Business Journal and News Channel 5 (video), a non-discrimination bill passed on a second reading at Metro Council last week.  The council voted 21 to 16 in favor of the bill that would add two new classes to the procurement code Metro contractors already follow. These companies would not be able to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation if it passes.  

A copy of the non-discrimination bill can be found here.  The bill must pass a third and final reading at the next council meeting set for March 15, 2011.  As reported, Mayor Karl Dean said that he would sign the bill into law.  According to The Tennessean, more than 181 other communities across the country have adopted similar policies.

What does the proposal mean to contractors?  If the legislation is passed on the final reading, contractors and suppliers who work with Nashville would have to offer workplace protections for homosexuals and transgender individuals.  In its simplest terms, contractors who do business with Metro would be required to add gender identity and sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policies.  In addition, the parties’ contract must include an affidavit of compliance, which should be part of the bid documents.  The law reads:

The purchasing agent of the metropolitan government shall include in all bid specifications or invitations to bid a provision to the effect that no contract shall be entered into for building and construction projects or supplies or services unless the successful bidder submits an affidavit to the metropolitan government stating that by his employment policy, standards and practices he does not subscribe to any personnel policy which permits or allows for the promotion, demotion, employment, dismissal or laying off of any individual due to this race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and that he is not in violation of and will not violate any applicable laws concerning the employment of individuals with disabilities.

As amended, the law excludes businesses with less than 15 employees and it does not not apply to religious institutions.