Central Arkansas Water adopts nondiscrimination resolution | Arkansas Blog

Central Arkansas Water adopts nondiscrimination resolution



The Central Arkansas Water Board of Commissioners today approved a comprehensive nondiscrimination  resolution that covers hiring, employee benefits and vendors.

The resolution adds "creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, political opinions or affiliation" to a list of classes and qualities that CAW already pledged not to discriminate against, including "race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status, marital status."

All vendors who work with CAW will be required to sign a contract that includes language saying that the contracting party won't discriminate in employment practices or "provision of goods or services" on the basis of any of what's above. 

The resolution also extends all employment benefits to all legally married spouses even if Arkansas does not recognize their marriage as legal. So the spouse of a CAW worker in same-sex couple who were married out of state is now eligible to receive benefits.

“The utility is committed to embracing diversity and the inclusion of all individuals," said John Tynan, director of customer relations and public affairs. "Part of our mission is to create an organization that recognizes and appreciates the wide range of similarities and differences among all people. The resolution passed today by the CAW Board ensures equal treatment of all CAW employees, all individuals that we serve, and all companies with whom we do business”

This comes, of course, in the wake of the Little Rock City Board passing a nondiscrimination ordinance and the Pulaski County Quorum Court advancing one. 

Does the commission's vote violate the state's Act 137, which prohibits "a county, municipality, or other political subdivision" from enacting laws extending civil rights? The answer lies in whether the commission is considered a "political subdivision," which would seem to include only entities with elected officers. Lawyers out there, help us out.

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