Non-discrimination ordinances now in effect

Non-discrimination ordinances now in effect
February 23
15:25 2022

Two new non-discrimination ordinances pertaining to public accommodations and employment are now in effect in Winston-Salem.

The city council adopted the ordinances last summer and they took effect January 1. They prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender expression/identity, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, hairstyle, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status.

The public accommodations’ ordinance prohibits discrimination based on these factors at stores, restaurants, hotels and motels, transportation facilities, theaters and stadiums.

Private clubs, membership organizations, and other establishments not open to the public are exempt from the ordinance, as are multiple-occupancy restrooms, showers and dressing rooms.

The employment non-discrimination ordinance allows religious organizations to give preferential employment to members of the same religion. It also allows preferential treatment based on an established workplace-seniority system, provided the system is not an effort to evade the requirements of the law.

The city’s Human Relations/Diversity, Equity and Inclusion department is responsible for investigating and mediating discrimination complaints and has posted an online form to assist citizens who want to file a complaint. The ordinances require that discrimination complaints be filed within 60 days of the alleged violation.

The department does not investigate complaints arising from interactions with the police department. Those complaints must be filed with the Citizen’s Police Review Board.

The Human Relations/DEI department is preparing free training materials about the ordinances. Businesses, organizations and individuals will be able to request the materials online.

For more information and a link to the online complaint form, go to

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