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The City of Portland, Oregon

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


Add a Comment



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."


Brooke Stevison

December 28, 2015 at 7:16 AM

I am looking for data collectors in the Portland area to work on a government sponsored research study called RESPECT LGBT. To be successful in this position you will need to have firsthand experience and knowledge of the local LGBT nightclub scene in the Portland area. You also will need to be able to network within the community to help get things done. Including but not limited to, effectively communicating with establishment owners and managers as well as respondents. You will need to know when and where to find people who identify as LGBT and are between the ages of 18 and 24.

If you are not interested in this position but know someone who is, please forward this information to them. Feel free to post this information anywhere that it may be seen.

Here is the link to apply in Portland

Position Summary
We are seeking part-time data collectors to work in teams of 3-4 for the Research and Evaluation Survey for the Public Education Campaign on Tobacco among LGBT (RESPECT LGBT). This is an important research study, sponsored by The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).
RESPECT will evaluate the effectiveness of media campaigns in local bars and nightclubs designed to reduce tobacco use among young adults, ages18-24 within the LGBT network. Data Collectors will work with their team to help bar patrons complete a short screening using a hand-held tablet. The DC will also recruit other venues in the area with a predominately LGBT clientele. We will be successful on this project if you have a crucial knowledge of these establishments.
Position Type and Duration
This is a short-term, part time job that will last approximately two weeks. Successful data collectors will have flexible schedules with availability to work 5 nights a week, including weekends from 9pm – 2am.

What is expected of you:
• Have a valid ID that can be used to verify legal age (at least 21 years of age) to enter the bars.
• Live within 50 miles of the study area.
• Work during the late evening and nighttime hours on weekdays and weekends.
• Have a valid driver's license and access to a personal vehicle.
• Document and navigate through a tablet.
• Maintain confidentiality at all times.
• Have access to wifi.
• Understand that you will be working in busy and loud establishments for extended periods of time.
• Have extensive knowledge of the LGBT community and the local bars and nightclubs that cater to this lifestyle.
• Adapt to and feel at ease in various social environments and areas.
• Maintain a flexible schedule during bar recruitment and the screening period
• Confidently approach and speak to strangers and effectively explain the importance of this study.
• Meticulously account for incentive money paid out to respondents and request more as needed.


Harry Elliot

December 31, 2016 at 11:25 PM

Employers must give careful consideration to questions used in job applications. In some cases, certain questions are legal, in others they are not. For employers and potential employees, it’s important to become familiar with the types of questions that can (and cannot) be asked during the hiring process. This will help employer’s avoid a lawsuit and potential employees will have the information needed to determine if he or she is the victim of employment discrimination.
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