Commission on Human Rights
KY Human Rights Commission issues December rulings
LOUISVILLE – The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Board of Commissioners today held quasi-judicial sessions to rule on two discrimination cases. The board ruled to accept two conciliation agreements, dismiss 31 discrimination complaints with findings of no probable cause, accept 10 withdrawals with private settlements, and accept seven withdrawals without settlement but with a right to sue.
In the case of William Labruyere and former Human Rights Commissioner Priscilla Johnson v. Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville: The commission found Jefferson County Public Schools guilty of discrimination against potential employees and in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
William Labruyere applied for the position of bus driver and was not hired due to his disability. However, his complaint was dismissed because he is diabetic who is insulin dependent and is not qualified for the position of bus driver under applicable safety laws.
However, former Commissioner Priscilla Johnson’s companion complaint resulted in the finding of discrimination because of the discriminatory policy of JCPS requiring job applicants to take a medical examination before JCPS would make a job offer.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Enforcement Guidance says that, “Before an employer makes a job offer he or she may not conduct a medical examination or make inquiries as to the job applicant’s disability status. The employer is allowed, though, to inquire into the applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions.”
“After a job offer has been made, and before the applicant starts working, the employer may require a medical examination and condition the employment offer on the results of the medical examination, if all entering employees are subjected to such an examination regardless of disability, and the employers keep the medical information confidential.”
“An employer may require medical examinations or make inquiries of incumbent employees as long as the employer can show that such examinations or inquiries are job-related and consistent with business necessity.”
The commission ordered JCPS to cease its practice of requiring pre-offer medical examinations of applicants. The commission ordered JCPS to modify its practices and procedures to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the implementing regulations and enforcement guidance issued by the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. JCPS will be required to file a written report with the commission that describes all policy and procedure changes made in accordance with this final order.
In the case of Eric Helfrick and Lolita Godoy v. Jeffrey Clay Riester in Wilmore, Ky.: The commission found Jeffrey Clay Riester guilty of discrimination based on race in housing in a default order. The respondent failed to cooperate with discovery requests from the commission, and ignored an order from the hearing officer compelling him to disclose the name of a witness.
In 2007, Mr. Riester refused to rent a home to Mr. Helfrick and Ms. Godoy and asserted that he based this decision on the fact that an unnamed individual told him Mr. Helfrick had a criminal record. Mr. Riester has never agreed to disclose the name of the individual who allegedly told him that Mr. Helfrick, who is African American, had a criminal record. Therefore, there is no proof that this ever occurred. The complainant alleged that this statement was a pretext for racial discrimination, and that Mr. Riester did not learn about Mr. Helfrick’s criminal record until after he received notice of the race discrimination complaint.
The commission ordered Mr. Riester to permanently restrain refrain from discriminating against current or prospective tenants on the basis of race, and to restrain from engaging in acts of retaliation or interference with fair housing rights. He will be required to rent to Lolita Godoy and her household the next available dwelling comparable to the dwelling located at 501 Woodspointe Way, Wilmore, Ky., and that the same rental rate that this property was previously offered to her. The commission ordered him to undergo fair housing rights compliance training and commission compliance monitoring for two years, and to pay $4,000.00 in damages to Lolita Godoy, a civil penalty in the amount of $5,000.00, prevailing party attorney fees in the amount of $10,250, and costs in the amount of $1,305.93.
Lexington Fair Housing Council v. James and Kay Brown in Cynthiana, Ky.: The Lexington Fair Housing Council alleged discrimination based on familial status in housing, saying the Browns practiced disallowed families with children from residing in their rental property. This would be a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KRS 344.360) and the federal Fair Housing Act. Prior to a recommendation of probable cause, the parties agreed to resolve the matter with a conciliation agreement. The respondents agreed to cease the practice of discriminating based on familial status and to refrain from publishing advertisements stating any preference related to age or familial status. They agreed to pay $1,000 to the Lexington Fair Housing Council and $1,000 to the Kentucky Council on Child Abuse. They agreed to undergo fair housing training and commission monitoring for compliance for three years.
Anayansi Este Valencia v. American Freight in Louisville: The complaint was based on national origin (Hispanic) in the area of public accommodations. Anayansi Valencia alleged American Freight discriminated against her when she called the store for directions and she said a manager told her there was no street from where she was that would bring her to the store; she alleged he then forwarded her call to a Hispanic person who gave her directions. When she arrived at the store, she said she and the manager had a disagreement, and she believed this was due to her national origin. The company denied any violations of the law. Prior to the commission making a determination, the parties agreed to resolve the matter in a conciliation agreement. The respondent agreed to compensate the complainant with $500 and undergo civil rights compliance training and commission compliance monitoring for two years.
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is the state government agency that enforces The Kentucky Civil Rights Act and federal civil rights laws. The laws protect people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, familial status, and tobacco smoking status. The protections apply with varying requirements to the areas of employment, public accommodations, housing, and financial transactions.