In Which I Agree with DNJ Editorial

Yes I say to the DNJ’s editorial regarding LaVergne’s decision to make discrimination a zero-tolerance offense.

La Vergne’s 169 city employees are also undergoing diversity training.  Ridding City Hall and all La Vergne departments of racist language and discrimination is important if city employees are to treat each other with respect and to provide residents with the service they deserve.

No one should have to listen to or be subjected to any kind of discrimination regarding race, color, sex, religion, disability, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, or national origin.  These are the rules we must abide by in selling under Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity guidelines and they are the same ones with which the city should operate under.

Read the entire editorial here.

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5 Responses

  1. There is no place for discrimination at any level of government (or anywhere else, for that matter). I like the intent behind this policy, but the execution is questionable.

    Zero tolerance policies are bad, because they are designed to eschew responsibility. Policy makers love these kinds of rules because it means they don’t have to think — all they have to do is look at a list of criteria to see if someone is to be fired or not. They will never get blamed for their decision to fire someone (or not), because the decision was made for them. Plus these rules are easily approved, because it’s so easy to make the opposition look like they are somehow in favor of discrimination.

    I don’t know the exact wording of the proposed rules, and it’s possible that this is actually a reasonable set of rules, and not truly zero-tolerance. But the phrase “zero-tolerance” is a red flag for a passing-the-buck approach to enforcement on issues that deserve better… like workplace discrimination. I suspect that this is just The City of La Vergne trying to take away the rights of employees in order to protect themselves from lawsuits on both sides — discrimination *and* wrongful termination.

    There’s a good article about it here:
    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/11/zero-tolerance.html

  2. In which I agre with David’s commentary on DNJ editorial!

    I could not have said it better myself – how many times have good kids been kicked out of school because they accidentally left something in their car from a weekend trip (hunting/job/etc)? The phrase “zero tolerence” is more a politicl statement than a policy statement, and is not always enforced equally.

    Like David said, this policy could be perfectly fine nd not so subjective like other “zero tolerance” policies, but the phrase just leaves a bad taste in my mouth becuse it is so easily abused.

  3. I definitely see your points and am actually an advocate of “No law is absolute.” but I DO stand behind the spirit in which this position is taken … if it’s indeed to prevent discrimination against people rather than just summarily dismissing someone to avoid lawsuits. I think we all do…

    So MichaelinLV, are you running for alderman this year? You know you’d have my vote! What about David? You both seem like you have your wits about you! :)

  4. I am a Smyrna resident… I only work in La Vergne. I’m always curious about what’s happening here which is why I read your blog. Thanks for doing such a good job maintaining it, Kathy. Not every town can enjoy such a convenient way to stay current.

  5. I agree that no one should have to tolerate abusive lanugage as described. But I do not like “zero tolerance” policies either. Give someone the chance to learn and to mend their behavior!

    Also, it gives authorities too much power. I have a nephew who was thrown out of school for 10 days for something really really minor, because of zero tolerance.

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