WILLIAMSBURG – The WJC School Board approved a long overdue update to its equal opportunity employment policy Tuesday. The document has not been changed since the school division established it more than 30 years ago.
The updated policy would change the term "physical handicap" to "disability." It would also add the phrase "or any other basis prohibited by law" to the list of personal characteristics – such as "race, color, religion, sex" and others – that cannot legally be considered when hiring, assigning, promoting, dismissing and paying employees.
The policy would continue to read: "Employment will be based upon qualifications and the ability of the person to perform effectively in a specific assignment."
The School Board voted 6-1 to approve the policy, with board member Oscar Prater voting “no” because he said he felt the school division needed to have a plan to address affirmative action.
Jon Andre, the school division's senior director for human resources, said on Wednesday that the new wording makes the policy a little more general.
"Instead of specifiying every possibility and then having to change it if a new law comes in, it says 'or other things protected by law,'" Andre explained. "Things change all the time with lawsuits and court cases, so we figured we'd better get in front of it and make it more general."
The School Board will vote on the policy update at its next meeting, set for Feb. 18.
Sampson can be reached at 757-345-2345.