Nebraska Chamber Stands Firm on Workplace Protections

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February 7, 2020 - 12:32pm

Nebraska’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry is standing firm on supporting workplace protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, despite pushback.


The Chamber has mostly received positive feedback when they publicly opposed workplace discrimination in late January, Bryan Slone, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, told NET News.

Those workplace protections would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of things a person can’t be fired for. Slone said the chamber board made the decision to align with Blueprint Nebraska, an economic development plan for Nebraska.

“This is a place that you can start a career or business and know that the state welcomes you and supports you," Slone said. "It lets you make your own personal mark based on your skills, your hard work, your teamwork and your contributions to your community. Those are the things that really matter.”

Religious organizations, like the Nebraska Catholic Conference, voiced opposition to the chamber's decision.

“The best way to respect all Americans dignity and privacy is not to use the government’s coercive powers," said Tom Venzor, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference. "That’s just not the best way of going about this."

Governor Pete Ricketts’ office also pushed back, saying, those specific workplace protections were not mentioned in the Blueprint report. And they weren’t.

However, "promote diversity and inclusion to retain and attract talent, and connect communities across the state," is mentioned in the report multiple times.

Slone acknowledged the Blueprint Nebraska report never mentioned workplace protection policies. The chamber made their choice because they believe a diverse workforce is best for growing Nebraska’s economy, Slone said.

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