Fayetteville City Council Approves Civil Rights Ordinance

FAYETTEVILLE, AR (KNWA) -Ordinance 119. A hot button issue drawing concern of businesses in Fayetteville.

Some business owners expressing concerns this ordinance will interfere with their day-to-day operations.

Businesses we spoke with say they're for civil rights, but the wording of the amendment is what concerns some of them.

"I don't disagree with what they're trying to do. I, I disagree with how it is currently written," said Terry

Turpin, C.O.O. of Acumen Brands.

Fayetteville business owners, speaking out about ordinance 119. Acumen Brands employees over 200 people.

C.O.O. Terry Turpin says, the ordinance will control too much of his business.

"It's too much goverment reach, particularly local government reach, into running an every day business," said Turpin.

But those who support it, say this is a win for their staff.

"It's not about the customer base, because we feel that we're providing a good service, a good product. That's going to bring us our customer base. It's about protecting our employees. It's about protecting everybody's employees," said Evan McDonald of Apple Blossom Brewery Co.

Turpin isn't worried about his staff, but worries businesses may face unintended lawsuits from firing an employee with reason.

"If that person, you know, becomes disgruntled or angry they've got a very easy way to go you know file a complaint, and that's okay except you're going to get a lot of frivolous claims that have no merit," said Turpin.

"Well once the claim is made, the media picks it up and people make judgements right away without knowing the facts."

With a civil rights administrator keeping a close eye on local businesses, Turpin believes it may even turn some businesses away from the city. However, he says, he's not going anywhere.

"I don' think anyone should ever use that as a threat," said Turpin. "I believe on hiring talent and diversity and that's what makes this really good."

"This is just one more hurdle uh in civil rights I think in an ongoing you know, effort," McDonald said.

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