Town hall to discuss Smyrna non-discrimination ordinance

Smyrna City Hall in article about Smynra wifi hotspotsSmyrna City Hall (photo by Larry Felton Johnson, Licensed under Creative Commons 4.0)

The City of Smyrna will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed non-discrimination ordinance in the Large Gym of the Smyrna Community Center (200 Village Green Circle, Smyrna Ga 30080) at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Masks are required, and temperature checks will be performed at the door.

The proposed ordinance can be viewed by following this link or by scrolling to the bottom of this article.

The announcement on Smyrna’s website provides more information, including links to attend the meeting via teleconference, and reads as follows:

The meeting will be held in the Large Gym of the Smyrna Community Center (200 Village Green Circle, Smyrna Ga 30080) at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 / Mask Required with Temperature Check at entrance. The meeting may be viewed live (as are our Council Meetings – see the following link). A link to the draft of the document is available through a link below as well. There is opportunity to speak at the live meeting and there is opportunity to speak via telephone if you are unable to attend the meeting, but you must register by 1:00 p.m. Tues., July 14 – instructions are listed below. 

To view the meeting live, go to https://smyrnacity.legistar.com/DepartmentDetail.aspx?ID=43866&GUID=1DE8B161-FF90-477C-872C-736909464C0F and find the option for Live Proceedings (meeting will stream as it begins). 

  • If you wish to speak during the Citizen Input portion of this meeting and you are unable to attend the meeting due to health concerns with COVID-19, you may participate via telephone. To participate via telephone, you must register with Community Development by emailing Deputy City Clerk Tina Monagahan at tmonaghan@smyrnaga.gov. The deadline to register to speak via telephone is July 14, 2020 at 1:00 PM. Everyone that attends the meeting in person, will have an opportunity to speak and will not have to register prior to the meeting. You will need to sign the Public Hearing /Citizen Input Sign Up Sheet at the City Clerk’s desk prior to the start of the meeting at 7:00 PM. If you choose to speak via telephone, you must be available to receive a call between 7:00 PM and 8:30 PM. Ms. Monaghan will notify you on Tuesday, July 14th as to additional details of these procedures. Thank you for your cooperation as we navigate new ways to encourage Public Comment.
  • Agenda
  • Draft of Non-Discrimination Ordinance 

Text of the ordinance

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF
SMYRNA, GEORGIA, BY ADOPTING A NEW ARTICLE 2, “UNLAWFUL
DISCRIMINATION” IN CHAPTER 66, “OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS

PROVISIONS” AND FOR ALL OTHER LAWFUL PURPOSES

BE IT ORDAINED AND IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED BY THE MAYOR AND CITY

COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SMYRNA, GEORGIA that the Code of Ordinances of the City of Smyrna shall be amended as follows:

PART I:

A new Article II titled “Unlawful Discrimination” shall be created in Chapter
66, “Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions”, which shall read as follows:

ARTICLE II – UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION

Sec. 66-40 – Purpose and Intent. It is the purpose and intent of the Smyrna
City Council to
protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to be free from all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, disability, marital status, veteran/military status or as a result of the person being 40 years of age or older. The Council’s purpose in enacting this ordinance is to promote the public health and welfare of all persons who live and work in
the City of Smyrna. It is important for the City to ensure that all persons within the Cityhave equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Sec. 66-41 – Definitions. For the purposes of this ordinance, the following
terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) BUSINESS. Any person or entity conducting business within the city,
which is required to obtain a license or permit.

(2) DISCRIMINATE, DISCRIMINATION OR DISCRIMINATORY. Any act, policy
or practice that, intentionally with malicious intent subjects any person to
differential negative treatment as a result of that person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, disability, marital status, veteran/military status or as a result of the person being 40 years of age or older.

(3) EMPLOYEE. Any individual employed by or seeking employment from an employer, excluding any individual employed by his or her parents, spouse, or child.

(4) EMPLOYER. A person who employs one or more employees in the City of
Smyrna, or any agent of such person.

(5) INITIAL CONCILIATOR. HEARING OFFICER. An individual appointed by the mayor and city council who is a competent attorney at law in good standing with the state bar association with experience in the area of constitutional law and employment discrimination. A person charged with determining the validity of alleged violations of this article, and upon determining that a violation has occurred, assessing appropriate damages, penalties, fines or costs.

(6) MARITAL STATUS. An individual’s past, current, or prospective status as
single, married, domestically partnered, in a civil union, divorced, or widowed.

(7) NATIONAL ORIGIN. An individual’s, or an individual’s ancestor’s, place of origin.

(8) PLACE OF PUBLIC RESORT, ACCOMMODATION, ASSEMBLAGE, OR

AMUSEMENT. Any place, store, or other establishment, either licensed or unlicensed, that supplies accommodations, goods, or services to the general
public, or that solicits or accepts the patronage or trade of the general public, or that is supported directly or indirectly by government funds.

(8)(9) RESPONDENT. means the person or business alleged to have violated
this article

(9)(10) RELIGION. All aspects of religious belief, observance,
and practice.

(10)(11) RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION. An entity which conducts
regular worship services or is qualified as a religious organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as now or hereafter amended, that is not required to file IRS Form 990, return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, under any circumstances.

(11)(12) SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Homosexuality, heterosexuality, or
bisexuality.

(12)(13) VETERAN/MILITARY STATUS. An individual’s status as one
who serves or served in the uniformed services, military, naval or air service, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

Sec. 66-42 – Discrimination Prohibited. No person, Business or entity shall,
within a Place of Public Resort, Accommodation, Assemblage or Amusement, Discriminate or engage in Discrimination or Discriminatory activities.

Sec. 66-43 – Exceptions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following are not
discriminatory practices prohibited by this ordinance:

(1) A Religious Organization, association, or society.

(2) An Employer or Business that observes the conditions of a bona fide
affirmative action plan or a bona fide seniority system which is not a pretext to evade the purposes of this ordinance.

(3) An Employer or Business that refuses to hire personnel that in its sole
but reasonable discretion it deems to be unqualified for the position.

(4) An Employer or Business requiring an Employee, during the Employee’s
hours at work, to adhere to dress or grooming standards, deemed appropriate by the Employer in its sole but reasonable discretion.

(5) A private club or other enterprise not open to the public, limiting the
services or amenities that it provides to its members or from giving preference to its members.

Sec. 66-44- Physical Changes to property. This ordinance shall not require
anyone to make physical changes to any property that would not otherwise be legally required to be made.

Sec. 66-45 – Enforcement. Subject to procedures developed by the City of
Smyrna, the City shall receive and shall initiate, and seek to conciliate, complaints alleging violations of this ordinance.

(1) Any person aggrieved by a potential violation of this ordinance may file
a complaint with the City Clerk on a form to be provided by the city. Any such complaint must be filed within one-hundred and twenty (120) calendar days after the alleged act of discrimination. A filing fee of $50 shall be paid by the complainant at the time of filing.

(2) The City Clerk shall cause a copy of the complaint to be forwarded to
the Initial (Conciliator: note, this word was omitted from the document posted to the Smyrna website, but since the term is used below, we’ve made the assumption that was the intent of the document)

(4)(3) The Initial conciliator shall review the complaint and answer,
if any, to determine if the complaint is in conformity with the requirements of this ordinance, appears unjustified, frivolous, or patently unfounded, or demonstrates facts sufficient to invoke jurisdiction as set forth in this ordinance. Should the Initial conciliator determine that the complaint does not meet the requirements of this ordinance, or is unjustified, frivolous, or patently unfounded or is based upon facts insufficient to invoke the jurisdiction as set forth in this ordinance, he/she may dismiss the complaint,
however the reasons for dismissal must be specified in a written report from the Initial Conciliator.

The City Clerk shall cause a copy of the complaint to be forwarded to the
Initial (Concilator) in advance of the scheduled time. The Initial conciliator shall have the discretion to reschedule the mediation upon the request of either party.

(5) The case shall be dismissed should the complainant not attend or refuse to participate. Any mediation hereunder shall be conducted in accordance with procedures to be established by the mediator.

(6) If, within ten (10) business days of the conclusion of mediation, the
complaining party notifies the City Clerk in writing that he or she is dissatisfied with the results, or if the Respondent elects not to participate in mediation, the Initial conciliator shall either dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it is factually or legally unjustified or refer the matter to the Smyrna Municipal Court to go through the standard process for alleged ordinance violations

Sec. 66-46- Penalty- Upon conviction, violators of this ordinance shall be
subject to a civil penalty as provided in Section 1-8 (c) of the Smyrna Code of
ordinances.

Commented [SC1]: To be added

Sec. 66-47 – Other Remedies. This ordinance may not be construed to limit any other remedies available under local, state, or federal law.

PART II

SEVERABILITY – It is hereby declared to be the intention of the Mayor and City Council that the sections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses and phrases of this ordinance are severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this ordinance shall be declared unconstitutional by the valid judgement or decree of any court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality shall not affect any of the remaining phrases, clauses,
sentences, paragraphs and sections of this ordinance.

passed and duly adopted this day of , 2020.

The Honorable Derek Norton
Mayor, City of Smyrna, Georgia

Approved this day of , 2020.

Heather Peacon-Corn

City Clerk, City of Smyrna, Georgia

Approved as to form:

Scott A. Cochran, City Attorney

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