Commission on Human Rights
Housing Discrimination Complaint by Lexington Fair Housing Council Results in $42,000 Conciliation Agreement
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Board of Commissioners recently ruled on discrimination complaints that included a $42,000 conciliation agreement resulting from a housing discrimination complaint brought by the Lexington Fair Housing Council:
Complaint Number 1487-H, The Lexington Fair Housing Council versus Burlington Oaks Apartments in Burlington, Ky.: The Lexington Fair Housing Council alleged discrimination based on disability in housing, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The Council claimed it discovered the Burlington Oaks Apartments were inaccessible to people with disabilities in a number of its design elements. The apartment company denied any violation of the law. The commission’s investigation of the complaint found there was probable cause to believe discrimination had occurred and issued the probable cause notice to the complainant and respondent. The parties then agreed to conciliate the matter rather than continue litigation. The respondent agreed to pay $7,000 to the Lexington Fair Housing Council and pay $10,000 to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights for attorney fees and the cost of administrative process. The respondent also agreed to correct the design problems and place $25,000 in an account for that purpose, which will be managed by a third party and the complainant. The respondent will report to the commission for law compliance.
The commission at its August 18 meeting also ruled to accept these additional conciliation agreements:
Complaint Number 1611-H: Clara Barnett versus Barren River Area Safe Space Inc., in Bowling Green, Ky.: Clara Barnett alleged she was discriminated against based on disability in the area of housing, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. She claimed that due to a disability that causes her to lose memory, she missed an appointment required in order to keep federal assistance for her housing. She claimed the Barren River Area Safe Space program would not allow her to reschedule the appointment and discontinued the federal assistance because of the missed appointment resulting from her memory loss. The respondent denied any allegations and denied violating the law. The parties agreed to conciliate the matter to resolve the complaint. The respondent agreed to pay the complainant’s rent for nine months or until the complainant receives other federal housing assistance. The respondent agreed to undergo commission compliance monitoring for three years.
Complaint Numbers 670-PA and 671-PA: Herman Maggard versus the City of Hazard, Ky.: Herman Maggard alleged he was discriminated against based on disability in the area of public accommodations, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. He claimed the city council denied an accommodation for his disability when it denied his request to have a pool lift for people with wheelchairs placed in the city swimming pool. He said he suffered embarrassment and loss of dignity because the pool guards had to carry him to the pool and place him in the water. Sometimes, they would slip, he said. The council denied all allegations of violations of the law. The commission investigated the complaint and found probable cause to believe discrimination occurred. After a delay due to a discussion about federal regulations concerning pool accessibility, a hearing was scheduled in regard to the complaint. Before the hearing, the parties agreed to conciliate the matter to resolve the complaint. The respondent installed a pool lift operating device to lift people in wheelchairs into and out of the Hazard Pavilion Swimming Pool. The respondent agreed to train employees to properly operate the device. The respondent compensated Maggard in the amount of $9,500, agreed to undergo civil rights compliance training, and agreed to submit to commission compliance monitoring for three years.
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is the state government agency that enforces the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The laws make discrimination illegal. The Kentucky Civil Rights Act protects people based on the protected classes of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, familial status, and tobacco-smoking status. These are protected with varying stipulations in the areas of public accommodations, employment, housing and financial transactions.
People who need help with discrimination may contact the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights at 1.800.292.5566. Visit the website at www.kchr.ky.gov. The website provides reports on civil rights issues and information on civil rights law and protections. From the commission website, one may also access the commission’s Facebook and Twitter pages, which list civil rights news articles and announcements.