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Lehigh Co. strengthens protections


Lehigh County Executive Phil Armstrong has signed two administrative notifications enhancing LGBT non-discrimination protections in the county.

The first notification clarified the county's own employment policy. The second mandates that county contractors and grantees also comply with the non-discrimination requirement.

Armstrong worked with the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center on the critical civil rights protections.

“As one of his first policy actions as County Executive, Phil Armstrong has moved to clarify the non-discrimination policy for county employees and expanded these protections to employees of all county contractors and grantees,”says center executive director Adrian Shanker.

“While the good news is that non-discrimination is the law in the Cities of Allentown or Bethlehem, the need for these administrative notifications is great. 70% of Pennsylvanians live in municipalities with no protections on the job or in housing related to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Shanker said. For example, Shanker points out “Here in Lehigh County, a business in Whitehall could legally put a sign on their front door that says “now hiring, except for transgender people”.

Another example Shanker used is that “a non-profit in Fogelsville could legally fire an employee after learning of their same-sex marriage.” Armstrong’s action would bar discrimination if an entity accepts funds from Lehigh County.