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Portland, Oregon

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Why does the City not ask about sexual orientation in job application materials?


I'm just curious . . .  I've noticed that in job applications to work for the City, the City's HR department does not ask about sexual orientation.  This is the section that comes at the end of the application, where they ask if you're Asian, Caucasion, Hispanic, Black, etc.

 If the question about sexual orientation is not asked, and if it is never counted, how will the City every know if there is discrimination based on sexual orientation?  And how will the City ever know how many gay, lesbian, bi, trans people are even applying to work for the City.


I think we know there IS descrimination, but very few entities seem to ask this basic question as part of their demographic statistics.  So there is no way to really know or measure this.


 It is state law (in Oregon), and is City and County law, that it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing, and other public accommodations.  You were instrumental in seeing to that for the City.  And others, like U.S. Senator (when Speaker of the House), were also instrumental in making that a reality state-wide.


 This should be something that is done with every job application, and it seems that it should be measured in Housing services as well.  No?

~~ Curious City Employee


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September 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Don't think it's a good idea. You could get numbers about those willing to indicate their sexual orientation on a form, but beyond that there are too many wrinkles and unwritten 'nods', etc. in the interview process for anybody to determine if there is discrimination in hiring. I'm about as out as they come but if this was on a hiring form, even for the City, I would decline to answer. Just a little too creepy and big brother, IMHO.


Evangeline Castro

October 25, 2013 at 10:31 AM

I agree there needs to be a way to exercise a checks and balance system against discrimination but listing your sexual orientation on an application leaves an open door to bias and judgement. We have no idea how those in the hiring process feel personally so I don't feel we should wear a "sexual orientation nametag."

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