March 6, 2019

CRC Proposes Inclusive Workplace Policies

By Donald Gilpin

To help create a town that is more inclusive towards the LGBTQ community, the Princeton Civil Rights Commission (CRC) has issued a report and five recommendations to Princeton Council.

The recommendations include proposals for conversion to all-gender restrooms for all single stall facilities in municipal offices and businesses in town; municipal programming to attract LGBTQ community members and LGBTQ inclusive diversity training for all municipal employees; the appointment of an LGBTQ liaison in the municipal executive’s office; the adoption of a policy in Princeton that prohibits bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all youth-facing municipal facilities and services; and the appointment of an LGBTQ police liaison or task force.

Applauding the CRC’s work, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert expressed her intention to work with Council and local organizations to put the recommendations into action in the near future. “The municipality has a goal of being more welcoming and inclusive and fostering a feeling of community belonging,” she said. “The CRC delivered an excellent report to Council recommending several actions we could take this year. I’m looking forward to taking these recommendations and working to implement them.”

In 2018 Princeton improved from 76 to 84 out of 100 on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which scores cities across the country on how inclusive they are towards the LGBTQ community. Princeton was awarded six out of six points on the MEI scorecard in 2018 for sharing documentation that Princeton offers transgender-inclusive health care benefits and two out of two points for the municipality being an inclusive workplace, with the Human Resources Department sending job postings to the New Jersey LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, which shares vacancies with the New Jersey LGBTQ community.

In presenting the CRC’s recommendations to Council last week, Afsheen Shamsi, formerly CRC vice chair, thanked Lempert and her CRC colleagues. “While
Princeton is already above average in terms of being inclusive compared to cities across the country,” she said, “it is important for us to build upon that work and make Princeton a more inclusive and welcoming community for all to live and work in.”

CRC Chair Tommy Parker cited these recommendations as a “great initiative in helping make this town a welcoming community,” and he applauded these “efforts to make sure that everybody is treated equally.”

Shamsi pointed out that adopting the five CRC recommendations would potentially increase Princeton’s MEI score by 19 points in 2019. “We consider our work to be inclusive an ongoing project and would like to continue to review each year how to make Princeton a model community in terms of being welcoming and inclusive to all,” she said.

“I applaud Mayor Lempert for instituting immediate action steps on each of the recommendations made and I look forward to seeing these recommendations progress through Council,” Shamsi concluded.