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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Under City Attorney David Chiu’s leadership and vision, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office approaches the law – both in the courtroom and in our advice, counsel, and investigations – with a focus on equity, and providing a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive workplace for all our employees. As the son of immigrants and the first Asian American to lead the Office, Chiu has a personal understanding of the importance of diversity and representation and a long history of championing causes that advance justice and equity. City Attorney Chiu leads the Office with an unwavering commitment to break down barriers and remove obstacles that impede equitable access, opportunity, and achievement, along with a focus on promoting structures and processes to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
Creating a more just, diverse, equitable, and inclusive City is a top priority for the Office. This commitment is exemplified in the litigation work that we do, the advice we provide our City clients, and in our Office’s values, culture and workplace.
From protecting San Francisco’s sanctuary city status to winning the fight for marriage equality to fighting to ensure worker, consumer and tenant rights, the Office has a long history of fighting for vulnerable communities and using litigation to protect and uplift all people. On the advice side, we work to promote racial equity when advising City departments, commissions, and elected officials, drafting legislation, and negotiating contracts and other transactions.
The Office’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and belonging imbues our practices, procedures, and benefits. We survey employees on our work environment, policies, and programs, and welcome and consider all employee feedback and suggestions. Our training program provides opportunities to learn new skills and keep up to date on developments in an employee’s practice area, and includes training on implicit bias, eliminating microaggressions, and bystander intervention and programs for personal well-being and growth. Our pilot Telecommuting Policy allows eligible employees up to two days a week of remote work, to provide flexibility and work-life balance in support of employee wellbeing. And the City offers robust benefits, including comprehensive health benefits that provide mental health and Employee Assistance Program services, as well as paid parental leave after six months of employment.
Racial Equity Task Force
In December 2020, former City Attorney Dennis Herrera introduced the Office’s Racial Equity Action Plan and established the Racial Equity Task Force, comprised of 15 Office employees. The Task Force reflects the diversity of Office employees in terms of their backgrounds and identities, positions, teams, and tenure in the Office.
The Racial Equity Task Force reviews and recommends steps to: increase racial and ethnic diversity through improved outreach, recruiting and hiring; enhance Office culture to make the Office more supportive, aware, communicative, and empathetic to its employees; and retain its diverse workforce and provide fulfilling and rewarding work and professional development. Since the Task Force’s inception, this dynamic group has tangibly impacted Office culture and helped foster a sense of community during the pandemic and remote work. Upon assuming office, City Attorney Chiu has prioritized working with the Task Force, meeting regularly with the Task Force and engaging on and implementing many recommendations, including to hire a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
As one of its early initiatives, the Task Force recommended establishing Affinity Groups to foster community and belonging, and provide a safe space for employees with shared identities and their allies. The Office now has seven Affinity Groups:
- African American/Black American
- Asian Pacific American Alliance
- First Generation Professionals
- La Alianza
- Native American
- Women’s Initiative
The Affinity Groups further the Office’s inclusion and belonging goals by working to promote an open, welcoming and supportive working environment. The groups are open to all employees and provide important spaces for employees to gather, connect, and share experiences.
The Office also established a New Parent Network as a space for parents of young kids to come together, share experiences, exchange communal wisdom, and find ways to gather and socialize.
Hiring and Promotive Practices
We know that the diversity, differences, and ranges of lived experiences of our employees enrich our workplace and enhance our work. We strive to recruit, employ, retain, and promote talented individuals representing the full spectrum of our communities. Our goal is to be a workplace where employees of all identities and backgrounds feel engaged and valued for their contributions to the Office and the City. The Office welcomes and encourages candidates of any race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, and age, and candidates with disabilities.
To ensure an open and equitable process, we have modified or eliminated minimum and desired qualifications that may serve as barriers, expanded our outreach to a wider range of organizations to attract a broad and diverse applicant pool, standardized our interview and selection procedures so all candidates participate in a consistent process, and ensured interviewers take fairness in hiring training to raise awareness of implicit biases.
As one of his first initiatives after assuming office, City Attorney Chiu implemented a new, transparent and structured procedure for lateral transfers and promotional opportunities, so all employees learn of and can pursue opportunities and positions that suit their talents and interests and provide for professional development and career growth. We strive to have our Office leadership reflect the diversity of the Office, at both the Executive Team and Senior Staff levels, and are committed to further expanding diverse representation in Office leadership.