Nondiscrimination ordinance adopted in Pine Lake

The city of Pine Lake follows the cities of Doraville, Clarkston, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Decatur and Atlanta in adopting formal ordinances against discrimination.

The ordinance prohibits businesses or entities licensed by the city from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity, race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, age or military status. Currently, no federal or Georgia law expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Mayor Melanie Hammet said the ordinance extends on a “Safe Harbor” resolution approved by the city council in 2016 which states: “The city council desires to publicly denounce discrimination and to encourage people of varying and diverse backgrounds to call the city home and a safe harbor … The city of Pine Lake shall be known as an open and inclusive community, which discourages discrimination and promotes diversity, equality, and tolerance.”

According to the city’s new ordinance—which was adopted during the Jan. 28 council meeting—individuals who believe they are victims of a violation of the ordinance can file a complaint within 90 days of the alleged act of discrimination to the city clerk.

Unlike similar ordinances adopted by other cities, the ordinance does not stipulate any penalties for persons or businesses that are found to be in violation of the ordinance. Other cities have included penalties for violations of its nondiscrimination ordinance, which can include a fine of up to $1,000 for the first offense should an investigation find discrimination has occurred.

For the city of Pine Lake, the staff will arrange for the services of a mediator between the complainant and respondent then notify the city clerk of the result. The ordinance does not clarify what follows the result of the mediation.

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