Commission on Human Rights
Kentucky Human Rights Commission annual report released today
LOUISVILLE – The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights announces the release today of its 2009 annual report covering the period of July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009.
As has been the case for all of its 49 years, the commission received the most discrimination complaints based on the protected classes of race and color. One-hundred-twenty-five people listed race and color as the reason they were victimized by discriminators. This was still lower than last year’s 158 race and color complaints.
The commission received 322 new cases this year out of which the majority of 82 contained allegations of discrimination based on race and color in employment.
Employment was the number one area in all new cases, with 228 people alleging they suffered discrimination in the workplace. The commission also received 47 complaints in the area of Housing and 47 in the area of Public Accommodations.
Other than race and color, complainants alleged illegal discrimination based on the protected classes of religion, national origin, sex, age (over 40), disability, familial status, and tobacco-smoking status. The last mentioned class is unique to Kentucky, and only one person alleged discrimination in the workplace because of being a smoker.
Disability cases have slowly but steadily increased over the years, but they were down this year. The commission received 73 disability cases versus 99 in 2008. National origin cases doubled since last year with 24 cases. There were 67 sexual harassment complaints down from 93 last year.
The commission closed 406 cases this year: 292 were dismissed with findings of no probable cause, 17 were settled through conciliation agreements many of which involved monetary compensation, 38 withdrew to file civil suits, 51 withdrew to be resolved by private settlements, and 7 were conciliated after the commission found probable cause to believe discrimination occurred. Only one case went all the way through the litigation phase to a formal hearing, and it resulted in a finding of discrimination.
In that case, an employer discharged a female employee because she was pregnant, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, which protects pregnant women from discrimination under the class of sex.
“All of these statistics remind us that people must remain vigilant to promote and protect human rights in Kentucky,” said John J. Johnson, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
The annual report is online at the commission website: www.kchr.ky.gov