Resource Center Dallas CEO and Executive Director Cece Cox sent Dallas Area Rapid Transit officials a letter Monday urging the agency to offer its 3,500 employees domestic partner benefits.
Cox’s letter, addressed to DART Board Chair John Carter and Diversity Committee Chair Claude Williams, comes in response to a Change.org petition created by a former employee. The letter states that adding DP benefits is about “fairness and equitable treatment for all employees” and lists how other companies and cities have offered DP benefits at a lower-than-expected cost.
It goes on to request that DART review its “nondiscrimination policy, add gender expression as was the intent of the board when it voted on it in June 2010, and eliminate cumbersome, confusing language that obfuscates the intent of a policy to protect all employees fr0m discrimination.”
DART’s board approved adding trans protections to its nondiscrimination policy in 2010 amid controversy, but advocates have called the language less than ideal.
Former DART police officer Andrew Moss, who started the petition, said DART reached out to him to schedule a meeting with Deputy Executive Director Jesse Oliver for early next week. His petition has garnered 920 signatures.
Moss said he plans to explain how DP benefits would add value to the company, as well as change a negative view of DART in the gay community.
“DART hasn’t had a positive image in the LGBT community and hopefully a move like this will improve the image,” he said.
Moss said DART’s quick reaction in setting up a meeting means the agency views the issues as “something that’s pressing.”
While he hopes the meeting ultimately helps change DART’s stance on DP benefits, he’s not sure what to expect.
“A lot of it really just depends on what he (Oliver) expects from the meeting,” Moss said. “If I go in there and his mind’s made up, it’s fruitless.”
Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell told Instant Tea that the center reached out to Oliver after he was hired this spring to meet with him about diversity issues, but he never received a response. He said the letter is another request for a meeting and offered his support of Moss.
“Resource Center Dallas supports Andrew Moss’ efforts encouraging DART to establish domestic partner benefits for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees,” McDonnell said. “This was an issue the Center initially brought up in 2010, when we worked with DART to establish transgender nondiscrimination protections for the agency’s employees.”
Read RCD’s letter below.